Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Deep agency and social change: A study on finding the good
by Chizhov, Michael, M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2015, 74; 1592913
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis argues that critical collective action is necessary to address modern-day social and ecological injustices. While educational institutions have the potential to teach students how to exhibit agency towards structural social change, mainstream forms of education fail to do this, and alternative education programs are better positioned to critically address potential avenues towards agency. To assess the relationship between alternative education and social change agency, four-month long participant-observation and ten semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with participants and directors of the Finding the Good (FtG) high school semester program. Participants’ stories revealed that they gained self-knowledge through the awareness of socio-environmental injustices that FtG facilitated, and positioned themselves on a spectrum of social change agency. This thesis concludes that while alternative education can encourage agency towards social change, the degree to which participants are able to engage with the structure of the educational program itself affects the qualities of those expressions and may result in participants recreating a neoliberal and institutionalized understanding of social change.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Timmerman, Nora
Commitee: Caulkins, Michael, Curtis, Kim
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 54/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Education
Keywords: Agency, Alternative education, Grounded theory, Mainstream education, Morphogenesis, Social change
Publication Number: 1592913
ISBN: 9781321888379