Rebel Girls

Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas

256 pages

December, 2010

ISBN: 9780814783252

$25

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Author

Jessica K. Taft is Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

All books by Jessica K. Taft

From anti-war walkouts to anarchist youth newspapers, rallies against educational privatization, and workshops on fair trade, teenage girls are active participants and leaders in a variety of social movements. Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas illuminates the experiences and perspectives of these uniquely positioned agents of social change. Jessica K. Taft introduces readers to a diverse and vibrant transnational community of teenage girl activists in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mexico City, Caracas, Buenos Aires, and Vancouver. Expansive in scope and full of rich details, Taft brings to life the voices of these inspiring activists who are engaged in innovative and effective organizing for global and local social justice, highlighting their important contributions to contemporary social movements and social theory.

Rebel Girls explores how teenage girls construct activist identities, rejecting and redefining girlhood and claiming political authority for youth in the process. Taft examines the girl activists’ social movement strategies and collective political practices, detailing their shared commitments to process-based political education, participatory democracy, and hopeful enthusiasm. Ultimately, Rebel Girls has substantial implications for social movements and youth organizations, arguing that adult social movements could learn a great deal from girl activists and making clear the importance of increased collaboration between young people and adults.

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Reviews

  • “In this riveting book, Taft takes us on a journey from San Francisco to Mexico City, Caracas, Vancouver, and Buenos Aires to learn about girls’ struggles for social justice in a variety of social movements.”

    —Verta Taylor, co-author of Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret

  • "From interviews with seventy-six teenage girls in five locations and from observations of their political strategies, Taft builds an in-depth picture of girl activism in different socio-cultural and political environments, comparing the more politicized and radical activism in Latin America to that practiced in North America."   

    —Hilary Crew, VOYA Library Magazine

  • "Jessica K. Taft describes how teenage girls are active participants and leaders in a variety of social movements, from anti-war walkouts to anarchist youth newspapers, rallies against educational privitization, and workshops on fair trade."

    Z Magazine

  • "This is not only a powerful sociological account of the making of a counter-culture girl identity—that of the socially active, community-minded girl; it is also a treasure trove of data."

    —Maya Bernstein, Lilith Magazine

  • "Taft adds a valuable contribution to youth, girlhood, and activist studies."

    —R.C. Raby, Choice

  • "In Rebel Girls, Jessica K. Taft introduces readers to a cadre of girl activists who remain invisible to scholars of both girlhood and social movements. . . Taft unveils the intricate processes through which girl activists contruct collective identities and political strategies within contexts that take neither girl nor youth political activism seriously."

    —Heather Hensman Kettrey, Mobilization

  • "Taft demonstrates...capacity for nuance."

    —Courtney E. Martin, Women's Review of Books

  • "Rebel Girls serves the important purpose of bringing to light and describing a marginalized aspect of activist culture."

    —Emily Abrahams, Shameless