Intersectional Politicization: A Facet of Youth Activists’ Sociopolitical Development

Conner, Jerusha O., Johnnie Lotesta, and Rachel Stannard. 2022. Intersectional politicization: A facet of youth activists’ sociopolitical development. Journal of Community Psychology, 1– 20. This article explores the sociopolitical development (SPD) of youth activists involved in climate justice and gun violence prevention movements. Interviews with 52 youth members of five different youth-led activist organizations and follow-up surveys supplied the data. We found that involvement in youth-led activist organizations facilitates a particular kind of SPD we term “intersectional politicization.” Intersectional politicization involves critical intersectional reflection paired with critical intersectional action. Critical intersectional reflection entails analysis of how marginalized populations are impacted by particular social problems and how various social issues and forces of oppression interconnect. Critical intersectional action consists of participating actively in multiple movements or activist organizations to address distinct issues simultaneously. Intersectional politicization is fostered through organizational trainings and programming, collaborative work with other organizations, dialog with fellow activists, and online activist content. Intersectional politicization raises new considerations for research on critical consciousness and youth SPD.

Twelve Weeks to Change a Life: At-Risk Youth in a Fractured State

Greenberg, Max A. 2019. Twelve Weeks to Change a Life: At-Risk Youth in a Fractured State. University of California Press.

Twelve Weeks to Change a LifeHailed as a means to transform cultural norms, interpersonal violence prevention programs have reached nearly two-thirds of high school students in the United States today. Twelve Weeks to Change a Life: At Risk Youth in a Fractured State explores the consequences of this slow-rolling policy revolution for the young people marked for intervention. Drawing on over three years of fieldwork in schools across Los Angeles, as well as historical research into shifting approaches to interpersonal violence, Greenberg examines the reorganization of social policy into a system of short-term grants and fleeting programs, which he refers to as the ephemeral state, and the way this system shapes the stories young people tell about themselves and the state. In addition, he show how statistical surveillance enables new ways to think about and act on harm, giving rise to the category of at-risk youth and in turn shaping the identities and relationships of young people and state actors alike.

When Race Race Meets Class: African Americans Coming of Age in a Small City

Levine, Rhonda F. 2019. When Race Race Meets Class: African Americans Coming of Age in a Small City. Routledge.

When Race Meets ClassA rare, 15-year ethnography, this book follows the lives of individual, low-income African American youth from the beginning of high school into their early adult years. Levine shows how their interaction and experience with multiple institutions (family, school, community) and individuals (parents, friends, teachers, coaches, strangers) shape their hopes, fears, aspirations, and worldviews. The intersectionality of their social identities—how race, class, and gender come together to influence how they come to think about who they are—influences many behaviors that directly contradict their stated aspirations. Affected, too, by limited access to resources, these youths often take a path profoundly different from their stated values and life goals. Levine explores the volatility and constraints underlying their decision-making and behaviors. The book reveals the critical junctures and turning points shaping life trajectories, challenging many long-held assumptions about the persistence of racial inequality by offering new insights on the educational and occupational barriers facing young African Americans.