ERIC Number: EJ1102675
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
We're Just Ordinary People: Messianic Master Narratives and Black Youths' Civic Agency
Woodson, Ashley N.
Theory and Research in Social Education, v44 n2 p184-211 2016
Critical race scholars have argued that curricular portrayals of the Civil Rights Movement are undermined by master narratives that legitimate the racial status quo. Although many scholars have critiqued Movement master narratives in social studies and society, few studies have examined Black students' interpretations of such representations and the effects of these representations on their sense of civic agency. In this article, I present ethnographic data that illustrate the function of a specific type of master narrative, messianic master narratives, in 9 Black urban youths' understandings of historical and contemporary civil rights leadership. Messianic master narratives position an individual as the messiah, savior, or deliverer of an oppressed group. Data provide evidence that messianic master narratives constrain Black youths' civic agency, specifically by associating civil rights leadership with immense risk, uncritically invoking Judeo-Christian values, and undermining participants' understandings of historical agency and historical collective action. I conclude by explicating curricular risks associated with messianic master narratives and offering recommendations toward disrupting these narratives in social studies classrooms.
Descriptors: Critical Theory, Race, Civil Rights, Criticism, Ethnography, Urban Youth, Risk, Christianity, Judaism, Leadership, History, Social Studies, Power Structure, Racial Bias, African Americans, Low Income, Qualitative Research, Interviews, Focus Groups, Mental Disorders, Behavior Disorders, Clinical Diagnosis, Journal Writing, Assignments
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A