Week 5: Youth Participatory Action Research, Community Activism, Gangs

Akom, A.A. (2007). Free spaces: excavating race, class, and gender among urban schools and communities. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. 20(6), 611-616.

"I define free spaces as places that share some of the following characteristics: a sense of shared bonds, places to revive one’s culture, places to rejuvenate our spirits, participatory and democratic spaces, places to civically engage–debate–dialogue, places to form social networks, places to educationally achieve, places to form democratic or revolutionary visions of social change, places to recover and enjoy group identity, places to cultivate self and communal respect, cooperation, and community uplift" (613).

Baumann, P. (2012). “Civic engagement through digital citizenship: Engaging youth in active, participatory citizenship through digital media.” The Progress of Education Reform. 13(1), Pgs. 1-6.

What interested me most was when the article concluded that “[b]roadband availability, accessibility and affordability are the determining factors separating youth who are digital natives and youth who are not. If policymakers do not address these factors, non-digital native youth, who are largely poor and largely minority, will continue to be less likely to be civically engaged than their digital native peers” (Pg. 5).

Cammarota, J (2011). From Hopelessness to Hope: Social Justice Pedagogy in Urban Education and Youth Development.Urban Education, 46(4), p828-844.

"To overcome the impediments preventing the attainment of youth assets, young people must adopt a social justice awareness, which centers on understanding how social and economic institutions, policies, and practices can either stall or promote healthy youth development outcomes. Awareness in SJYD is actually comprised of a set of awarenesses that constitutes critical consciousness focused on systematic injustices and actions required to overcome social and economic oppression. There are three steps or stages in the set of awarenesses involved with social justice in youth development: self, community, and global” (p. 833).

Cammarota, Julio and Fine, Michelle. (2008). Revolutionizing Education: Youth Participatory Action Research in Motion. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

“The knowledge that human agency constructs reality is power, a power that has very specific education and development outcomes. Young people possessing critical knowledge of the true workings of their social contexts see themselves as intelligent and capable” (p. 7).

Gebo, E., Boyes-Watson, C., &Pinto-Wilson, S. (2010). Reconceptualizing organizational change in the Comprehensive Gang Model. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38, 166–173.

The quote that was most impactful was “Decker and Van Winkle (1996) pointed out that most gang initiatives have attempted to address the proximate causes of gang involvement and activity, such as lack of supervision and job skills, while the fundamental causes, [unemployment, racism, and lack of opportunities], are often left out of the mix of what any criminal justice-community partnership can achieve.” (p. 1).

Golod, F. (2008). Civil Rights and Social Justice: A Path to Engagement and Transformation. Horace, 24(3).

“They also know what needs to be done to change the picture; action is central to the curriculum. It is the dynamic interplay between learning and doing that makes the Family School pedagogy so compelling.” (pg. 2)

Hartnett, S J. (2010). Communication, Social Justice, and Joyful Commitment. Western journal of communication, 74(1), 68-93.


"Feeding off of grants and contracts from such ‘‘interests,’’ communication scholars were implicitly embedded within the political imperatives and intellectual frameworks of the Cold War state, hence functioning less as bearers of brave new truths and teachers of engaged citizens than as clerks for the massive machinery that spewed out generations of dogmatic anticommunism, love of the Bomb, cheerful consumerism, and unquestioned U.S. international dominance." (Hartnett, 2010, p. 72)

Irizarry, J. G. (2009). Reinvigorating Multicultural Education Through Youth Participatory Action Research. Multicultural Perspectives,11(4), 194-199.

"YPAR challenges the traditional roles of youth as passive recipients of education and consumers of knowledge by repositioning them as active learners and knowledge producers....A significant feature of many YPAR projects is that they engage participants in multigenerational collaboratives across explicitly named lines of difference- including age, race, gender, social class, and educational level, among others. In addition to fostering collaboration among diverse individuals, much of the content explored within YPAR reflects a commitment to promoting cross-cultural understanding" (Irizarry, 2009, pg. 197).

Katz, C M. (2011). Neighborhood Variation in Gang Member Concentrations. Crime and delinquency, 57(3), 377-407.

"For example, gang scholars have long argued that problems associated with poverty, economic strain, social disorganization, and population mobility are root causes of gangs, gang membership, and gang crime (Spergel, 1995)."

Koffman, S., Ray, A., Berg, S., Covington, L., Albarran, N. M., & Vasquez, M. (2009). Impact of a comprehensive whole child intervention and prevention program among youths at risk of gang involvement and other forms of delinquency. Children & Schools, 31(4), 239-245. http://search.proquest.com/professional/docview/61837742?accountid=14512; **http://lysander.naswpressonline.org/vl=5062665/cl=58/nw=1/rpsv/cw/nasw/01627961/v31n4/s6/p239**

"A major premise of the ripple effects program is that if young people who have undergone personal trauma and social discrimination are expected not to drop out of school or to numb their pain with alcohol or drugs, then schools and communities must provide training not only in skills to survive the trauma, but also in skills to change unjust social systems that are the source of much of the students’ pain (Koffman, 2009, p. 242).

Kurubacak, G. (2007). The Power of Problem-Based Learning for Building Democratic Adult and At-Risk Youth Communications.


Lockwood, D. (2007). Violence Among Middle School and High School Students: Analysis and Implications for Prevention. National
Institute of Justice: Washington, D.C


“The analysis confirmed that the opening moves involved such actions as minor slights and teasing, and the incidents took place largely among young people who knew each other. What is perhaps most troubling is the finding that the students’ violent behavior did not stem from lack of values. Rather, it was grounded in a well-developed set of values that holds such behavior to be a justifiable, commonsense way to achieve certain goals” (Lockwood, 1997, 1).

Madan, A., Mrug, S., & Windle, M. (2011). Brief report: Delinquency and community violence exposure explain internalizing problems in early adolescent gang members?. Journal of Adolescence, 34(5), 1093-1096.

"It is possible that the adolescents’ young age or desensitization to negative emotions contributed to the lack of association between gang membership and anxiety and depression."

McIntyre, A (2000). Constructing Meaning About Violence, School, and Community: Participatory Action Research with Urban Youth. The Urban Review, 32 (2), 123-154.

"Through the use of PAR, we problematized those borders and created spaces for young urban youth to “give testimony” and bear witness to the experiences of what Ignacio Mart´ın-Bar´o (1994) called “normal abnormality” (p. 125)—a state of being/living where people come to anticipate living with multiple forms of sanctioned and unsanctioned violence, marginalization, and oppression, all of which inform and shape their daily lives."

Medina, J. (2012). Mentoring Siblings of Gang Members: A Template for Reaching Families of Gang Members?. Children & society, 26(1), 14-24.


“…it would be reasonable to suspect that projects like these will not have a long-lasting sizable impact on offending or gang involvement. The family, individual, school or ecological risk factors for these outcomes are usually not removed by the intervention. And the direct buffering impact of mentoring is normally over once the scheme finishes. In addition, the potential buffering effect that new social bonds that may have developed as a consequence of networking and recreational activities carried out are unlikely to be maintained if families do not have the means, the time or the motivation to sustain these activities. As we encountered in this case, despite efforts at increased formal integration of preventative resources, serious problems remain in relation to access to after-school activities” (Medina, p.22)

Mediratta, K. (2002). Organizing for School Reform: How Communities Are Finding Their Voices and Reclaiming Their Public Schools. Institute for Education and Social Policy. New York, NY.

The one quote that resonated most with me was when the author stated that the SCYEA "helps students analyze the political structure of schools in south Los Angeles and learn vital organizing skills for political activism such as public speaking, data analysis, agitation methods, media outreach, and issue developments."

Miller, H. & Barnes, J.C. & Hartley, R. (2009). "Reconsidering Hispanic Gang Membership and Acculturation in a Multivariate Context." Crime and Delinquency; 57(3), p 331-354.

"In this vein, choloization can be understood as a by-product of the acculturation process where unacculturated youth are more likely to be marginalized from mainstream society, resulting in their conscious rejection of the conventional social order and in the creation of an alternative social world (i.e., the gang)" (p. 333).

Morrell, E. (2006). Critical participatory action research and the literacy achievement of ethnic minority youth. Paper presented at 55th Annual Yearbook of the National Reading Conference 55th annual.

“The youth, in nearly every instance, were clearly implicated in the problems under study. This personal, invested stance added to the urgency and passion in the research, also a unique and important positionality” (Morrell, p. 8, 2006).

Quijada Cerecer, D A. (2011). Resist This! Embodying the Contradictory Positions and Collective Possibilities of Transformative Resistance. QSE. International journal of qualitative studies in education, 24(5), 587-593.

The authors identify that the article will provide answers to the question, "what constitutes resistance and how does it operate in and through YPAR?" One answer to the question is "YPAR is itself a position of powerful transformation. From this position we listen closely and work collaboratively with young people who see, name their experiences and concerns, and conduct original research in order to transform oppressive conditions underlying our everyday lives." (p.590) and it provides students with confidence and agency in a Freirian subject-not-object sort of way.

Rios, V. M. (2010). Navigating the thin line between education and incarceration: An action research case study on gang-associated Latino youth. Journal of education for students placed at risk (JESPAR), 15(1-2), p. 200-212.

"Another Mexican American youth, Steven, a 19-year-old who had dropped out of school, pinpointed the day he believed he lost faith in school and decided to drop out: ‘The teacher chose . . . me, and the White guy [a fellow student], he said, "Oh, he won’t know the answer. He’s Mexican." The teacher didn’t say anything.' When asked how he felt about this, he said, ‘I felt like shit, so I just skip school. Go to a friend’s house, help my parents with work, do drugs, fucking just go look for fights, go to State Street. Just anything rather than school. I hate school’" (p. 208).

Sharkey, Jill D., Shekhtmeyster, Zhanna., Chavez-Lopez, Lizbeth., Norris, Elizabeth., Sass, Laura. (2011): The protective influence of gangs: Can schools compensate?: Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011), 45-54.

“With periodic panic over youth violence in schools, school authorities are particularly worried about the safety of student body. Unfortunately, many have responded with surveillance, security guards, perimeter fences, police presence, and separation of the at-risk students. These practices ignore the importance of school climate and create distance between students and their teachers and administrators. Students in such an atmosphere of distrust may turn away from role models at school and feel further motivation to join a gang.” (51)

Streb, M. & William, M. (2001). Building Citizenship: How Student Voice in Service-Learning Develops Civic Values.Social Science Quarterly: Blackwell Publishing Limited); 82:1, p154-170.

"In order for the service experience to be effective in boosting civic involvement among the participants, service-learning programs must have the students involved in leadership positions, directing the project themselves rather than having the teacher administering the project; students must have a voice in the process. Previous work (Morgan, 1995; Melchior, 1998) suggests that this factor is significant in making service-learning a long-lasting, successful experience for the students. This argument is consistent with the views of such educational luminaries as John Dewey (1916), who thought that it was through such experiential learning that students would develop the skills needed to participate in a democracy."