Inner City Kids
Adolescents Confront Life and Violence in an Urban Community
Urban teens of color are often portrayed as welfare mothers, drop outs, drug addicts, and both victims and perpetrators of the many kinds of violence which can characterize life in urban areas. Although urban youth often live in contexts which include poverty, unemployment, and discrimination, they also live with the everydayness of school, friends, sex, television, music, and other elements of teenage lives. Inner City Kids explores how a group of African American, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, and Haitian adolescents make meaning of and respond to living in an inner-city community.
The book focuses on areas of particular concern to the youth, such as violence, educational opportunities, and a decaying and demoralizing urban environment characterized by trash, pollution, and abandoned houses. McIntyre's work with these teens draws upon participatory action research, which seeks to codevelop programs with study participants rather than for them.
"Invites us to learn from a group of inner-city youth as they forge their identities and engage the barriers and opportunities they face growing up in America today. This book embodies the best of activist scholarship. The successes and failures of a liberatory and participatory action research project are described with precision, humor, and self-criticism as we learn how alliances among a diverse group of urban youth and adults in their lives were crafted and then served as a basis for collaborative action. . . . Offers psychologists, social researchers, and activists a rare opportunity to hear stories from the lives of urban youth in their own words. The social analyses and practices described here challenge us to rethink our understandings of adolescent development."
—M. Brinton Lykes, Professor of Community/Social Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and Boston College
"Alice McIntyre offers the unflinching gaze of an astute researcher. . . . Essential reading for teachers, counselors, and all youth workers. McIntyre's frank assessment of participatory action research and her careful analysis of her original data demonstrate PAR at its best."
—Mary Brabeck, Professor and Dean, Lynch School of Education, Boston College
"A groundbreaking feminist participatory action research project with urban youth. McIntyre develops long term relationships and collaborative action research with 12 and 13 year olds schooled in a building with bullet proof windows. Surrounded by the crush of violence, trash, racism, and sexism, the kids frame their own questions, take cameras into their hands, narrate their own stories, and take action to effect change in their community and, ultimately, their lives. They affirm the potential of feminist participatory action research to create hopeful spaces for kids' voices, visions, and activism."
—Patricia Maguire, author of Doing Participatory Research: A Feminist Approach