Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Positioning of Homeless Adolescents towards Literacy and Life: An Ethnographic Narrative Inquiry
by Haq, Katherine Shands, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2018, 266; 10823480
Abstract (Summary)

Young people who are homeless or runaway encounter numerous barriers in obtaining an education (Milner,2013). Concurrently, their schooling experiences have been restricted by neoliberal policy initiatives that have muted investments in building an engaged US citizenry, moving curriculum from content to skill-based learning (Au, 2013). Since civic opportunities for young adults in marginalized communities are not often available and unevenly distributed across social class and race/ethnicity (Ginwright, 2010), participants and I co-created a youth activism club with participants to gain a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the intersection of literacies, civic engagement, and homeless urban youth aged 16-23.

This study draws upon positioning theory and narrative inquiry and works to uncover the ways young people of color who frequented the Scope Resource Center (SRC) for Homeless and Runaway Youth positioned themselves towards critical literacies and as activists in their communities.

Primary findings indicate examinations of power structures morphed as participants expanded critical thinking outwardly over time, moving from micro, through mezzo, and into macro level questioning. Participants engaged in dialogue around texts resulting in intertextual multiliterate positioning and associations were made between critical YA texts and embodied civic action, enabling participants to position themselves as cultural critics and resisters of the status quo. Data suggests established adolescent civic engagement indicators (Flanagan & Levine, 2010) need to be adapted and expanded to include indicators linked to new literacies and online spaces that helped participants position themselves as active, engaged citizens.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McVee, Mary
Commitee: Boyd, Fenice, Schindel, Alexandra
School: State University of New York at Buffalo
Department: Learning and Instruction
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Literature, Education
Keywords: Adolescents, Civic engagement, Critical ethnography, Homelessness, Literacy, YA literature
Publication Number: 10823480
ISBN: 978-0-438-06135-4
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