Youth, Social Justice, and Communities: Toward a Theory of Urban Youth Policy
In this article, the authors argue that a more dynamic and holistic understanding of the ways urban youth resist and transform coercive policies and detrimental conditions in their communities is crucial to developing more effective youth development strategies. Citing examples of young peoples’ collective capacity to change debilitating public policies, the authors explore critical factors in urban youth’s social activism. This discussion draws on a theoretical framework that responds to fragmented models of community action and youth agency. In addition, the article identifies critical aspects of youth-driven initiatives, including community social capital, youth civil rights and civic participation, and collective agency. The authors present a model that accurately situates the actions of urban youth in the context of their social conditions, allowing practitioners and researchers to identify the resources young people need to effect changes in their communities. This article confronts the lack of a comprehensive theory and attendant successful urban policy by identifying strategies that may enrich support for marginalized youth taking action for justice in their communities.
urban education, urban policy, social theory, urban political economy, youth development, urban youth, social justice, social change
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 32, No. 3 (2005): 24-40.