Critical consciousness in a trade school context: A narrative analysis
Abstract: Brazilian educator Paulo Freire conceptualized critical consciousness (CC) as involving two inextricably and recursively related components: critical reflection (or analysis) and critical action. Freire defined critical analysis as an individual's making sense of unjust social conditions and he defined critical action as participation in behaviors that are intended to transform unjust ... read moresocial conditions. CC is relevant in multiple contexts across the life span. Within the field of youth development, CC has largely been studied among marginalized youth of color particularly in relation to their schools. However, less is known about how CC develops among working class white youth in relation to schools. The purpose of this dissertation was to shed light on the personcontext processes involved in developing CC, specifically critical analysis, among a subsample of four working class students of the Williamson College of the Trades—a predominantly white, male-only vocational-technical school. A narrative analysis was conducted to examine critical analysis in what the young men said about the causes of poverty in the U.S., and how these young men "narrativized" or spoke about their perspectives about poverty in the U.S. To explore the role that context may have played in shaping these young men's perspectives, I assessed the potential impact of family and peer relationships, and personal experiences with poverty, and whether the Williamson College culture and values contributed to how these young men made sense of poverty in the U.S. The narrative analysis revealed participants made a combination of fatalistic, structural, and individual attributions for the cause of and solution for transcending poverty. Personal experience with poverty brought narrative cohesion to how the young men reasoned and spoke about poverty in the U.S. However, none of the participants engaged in a structural analysis of poverty in the U.S. These results, their limitations, applications for fostering CC within schools, and implications for the study of critical analysis among working class white young men are discussed.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Richard Lerner.
Committee: Sabina Vaught, Sara Johnson, and Rosann Tung.
Keyword: Developmental psychology.read less
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