As a society, we do not openly discuss domestic violence and yet its reality is front and center for children and youth whose lives are deeply shaped by it. At best, the school landscape is bleak for many, if not all, HDV youth (i.e. youth with histories of domestic violence and youth currently living with domestic violence). We know little to nothing about how HDV youth navigate school from their perspectives—how they engage with and resist educational discourses and practices and thus take up subject positions. What we do know from popular, psychological literature is that HDV youth are often objectified as troubled and deficient and this shapes their identities and experiences in school. In this study, I discuss the challenges HDV youth face when they navigate normative and hegemonic interactions in school. I also analyze the resistive identities and performances HDV youth take up in response to interactions perceived as violating. The study is situated in a public, urban middle school and outlines how HDV youth make sense of their daily interactions with school peers and staff. The study is told through the subjective voices of three female middle school HDV youth—Jen, Mac, and Shanna. Their stories along with the voices of their caregivers offer a counter-narrative to the dominant discourses often shaping the representations of HDV youth. Data analysis is grounded in the theoretical conceptions of critical sociocultural theory (Lewis, Enciso, & Moje, 2007), resistive ambivalence (Pyscher, 2015; Pyscher & Lozenski, 2014), and Scott’s (1990) conceptualization of hidden and public transcripts. I seek to better understand and theorize the intersections of actions, identities, practices, and discourses that HDV youth use in educational interactions. The methodological foundation of this study is fourfold: critical discourse studies (Gee, 2014), critical ethnography (Emerson, Fretz, & Shaw, 1995), geosemiotics (Scollon & Scollon, 2003), and mediated discourse analysis (Jones & Norris, 2005). Implications include the possibility of creating more liberating educational practices for youth with histories of domestic violence and marginalized youth in general. I conclude by suggesting that we consider creating more transgressive and humane school cultures that embody carnival-like practices.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. March 2016. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Cynthia Lewis. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 277 pages.
Contradictions and Opportunities: Learning from the Cultural Knowledges of Youth with Histories of Domestic Violence.
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