Students on the Rise: Learning with Immigrant Youth in Out-of-School Spaces of Community Activism

Students on the Rise: Learning with Immigrant Youth in Out-of-School Spaces of Community Activism

Elizabeth Bishop (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4928-6.ch013
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This chapter discusses the recent findings of the Drop Knowledge Project in New York City (DKPNYC). The DKPNYC is a cultural studies research project designed to excavate the discourses of urban youth activism and organizing in relation to critical literacy learning. In this chapter, the authors look at the work of the DKPNYC youth activists around issues related to immigrant rights and educational justice in out-of-school spaces. Amongst the interconnected issues surrounding this work, the youth participants in the DKPNYC all organize around issues related to the struggle of undocumented youth to access quality education in the United States. Data collected from the study is decidedly cross-cultural, with participants articulating visions of themselves and their future in relation to their cultural heritage and their inter-subjective ethical learning. Implications from the study provide insight to educators, researchers, and community-based organizations about educating immigrant youth and others on pressing issues around immigrant learning.
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Conceptual Framework

I will briefly introduce the layered conceptual frameworks I used to guide this study. Epistemologically, I continuously consider what it means to conduct ethical-political research with youth. Conceptually, I remain curious to learn what inquiry-based educational theories, including critical literacy praxis, could best serve to explain the processes of learning in which activists participate. Methodologically, I aimed to conduct participatory action research with urban youth organizers in ways that are critically auto/ethnographic and respect the humanity of each young person involved. Analytically, I envisioned an analysis of this work through a hybrid form of critical discourse analysis that is overtly political, where discourse is defined through a focus on power relationships expressed through language. Representationally, the final documentation is intentionally fragmented. Concerns for replication and validity were dealt with through the guiding light of Patti Lather (2007). She herself is re-spun through Derrida, Deleuze and Nietzsche and is thus an appropriate contemporary role model for my post-structuralist pursuits.

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