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ERIC Number: ED534106
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 163
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-0865-9
Critical Understanding of U.S. Youths' Citizenship: Community Belonging and Engagement of "Successful Citizens"
Josic, Jasmina
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Minnesota
As today's youth is growing up in societies made more complicated by globalization, the argument grows for expanding the discussion about citizenship education. In increasingly multicultural and interconnected societies, young people are developing new civic attitudes as well as "attachments and identifications" as citizens within three levels of communities: local-cultural, national, and global. Unpacking the outcomes of democratic schooling and citizenship education in the United States through youths' experiences, this study examines this generation's ideas of citizenship in three ways. The first purpose is to inquire about the meaning of citizenship for young people, within the institutionalized relations and social processes of schooling. As local-cultural, national, and global communities are shaping their multifaceted identities, the second objective is to develop a critical understanding of youths' citizenship through their constructions of citizenship. The final objective is to better understand implications of youths' constructions and experiences for future citizenship education programs. This study applies a newly envisioned conceptual framework for understanding youths' citizenship. Viewing citizenship as a membership in a society, the framework consists of three interrelated dynamics that shape the position of one's citizenship: the politics of institutionalized social relations, as enforced through social and political forces and policies that are considered universal; social processes and practices evident in educational, economic, political and other environments; and an individual's struggle for self-definition and identity formation as a citizen. The research is rooted in qualitative interpretive design with elements of critical ethnography and informed by poststructural feminist theory. This method allows for expressing the researcher's reflexivity, as well questioning how youth develop a sense of agency as citizens based on their experiences with different social discourses and relations of power among various members of society. The study explores the perspectives of youth in two public schools located in New York City and in northern New Jersey. Using two purposive samples of 28 high-school juniors and seniors exposed to advanced social-studies curriculum, the data were collected during a 12-week period through class and school-activities observations, researcher journaling, small group interviews of students, and follow-up interviews with individuals. The use of countertopographies to metaphorically represent analytical findings brings the processes that shape youths' experiences as citizens to the forefront. The study reveals the spaces of belonging for these youth as citizens, and the processes of learning versus experiencing citizenship occurring in the space of schooling. This research recounts the construction of their citizenship as occurring within individual struggles to balance social expectations of success and one's motivation to learn and engage opportunities in their communities. In translating the findings into a discussion about the needs of citizenship education programs and possibilities of developing critical citizens, this study assists in positioning young people as individuals capable of developing agency and their voices as citizens in their own right. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey; New York; United States