The Urban Review

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 454-471

First online:

Narrating Neighborhood: Denying Young Women’s Public Voices About Violence

  • Corrine C. BertramAffiliated withDepartment of Human Development, College of Community and Public Affairs, Binghamton University Email author 

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This paper describes a youth-centered activist project with a group of young women in Brooklyn, NY, and the controversy surrounding it. In 1999 the young women created a neighborhood mural with anti-violence themes. Within 6 months of the mural’s dedication, the mural was whitewashed by the corporate owner of the mural wall. Using content and discourse analysis of archival materials, organizational documents, and ethnographic fieldnotes from participant observation, I argue that the teen women’s representations of violence were denied through the shifting understandings of their ages and assumptions about conflict resolution strategies. I offer reflections on the need for careful planning and reflection in youth participatory projects and the meanings of success and social change in these projects.


Young women Moral community Space Violence Mural