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‘Hella Ghetto!’: (Dis)locating Race and Class Consciousness in Youth Discourses of Ghetto Spaces, Subjects and Schools
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  • Alternative Title:
    Race Ethn Educ
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    Based on analysis of interviews conducted during 2008-2009 in Oakland, California, this paper examines how narratives of inner-city youth reinforce and destabilize mainstream conceptions of 'ghetto.' The paper demonstrates that inner-city youth discourses regarding 'ghetto' spaces, subjects and schools often exemplify a consciousness informed by both counter-hegemonic insights and internalized psychological trauma. In other words, the interviewed youth reconstitute the term 'ghetto' to signify structural and cultural processes of dislocation occurring in their neighborhood through narratives characterized by contradiction. This finding is significant because it questions how to analyze non-white narratives and offers 'dislocated consciousness' as an interpretive lens grounded in the contradictions of subaltern consciousness theorized by W.E.B. Dubois, Frantz Fanon and Antonio Gramsci. By developing the concept of 'dislocation' to illuminate how such youth negotiate, resist and internalize the material and ideological structures that condition their existence, this study contributes to the existing literature on race and class consciousness of urban youth. The paper concludes by exploring how strategies urban youth utilize to come to terms with their lives can provide new understandings of urban communities and schooling.
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