AREA 1. Youth resistance, community organizing, and social movements

My research in youth resistance covers such topics as youth movements for immigrant rights, small schools openings and closures, and educational self-determination in an era of neoliberalism. I am most interested in the emergence of urban social movements for self-determination in education, within the context of ghetto colonialism and the framework of decolonization.

Most recently, my close collaborator Eve Tuck and I completed an edited book, Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change, which features crafted interview chapters with foundational theorists of resistance and social change: Michelle Fine, James C. Scott, Pedro Noguera, Robin D.G. Kelley, Signithia Fordham, and Gerald Vizenor. Contributors to our book unsettle the “calcifications” of resistance theories that have come to shape the scholarship on youth resistance vis-a-vis schooling and work for the past 40 years, since Paul Willis’ paradigmatic study, Learning to Labor (1977). The book features new studies of resistance, including: the DREAMer movement, LGBTQ street youth resistance, urban Indigenous youth epistemological persistence, and black community responses to ecoapartheid through STEM education. Most importantly, the book analyzes the relationship between youth resistance and theories of how social change can occur.

Prior to this edited volume, Eve Tuck and I co-edited a special issue in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, “Youth resistance revisited”. My earlier work in resistance examined youth organizing for the 2006 immigrant rights protests (Organizing MySpace, 2007), through social networks and text messaging, when MySpace and text messaging first became popular (prior to Facebook and smartphones). Also, I considered the forms of resistance practiced by a group of straight-A high school girls whom I followed through college and into their adult family and working lives (A Disrupting Darkness, 2011).

I also look at community organizing among working class families of color vis-a-vis small schools, and increased sanctions on ‘underperforming’ schools, and the neoliberal state (Rites to Reform).

I am currently working on a sole-authored book, Organizing the Commonsense, which considers three interconnections between three landscapes of organizing in Oakland, California: youth organizing, community organizing among working-class families, and organizing within central administration bureaucracy.