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Revisiting the Collective in Critical Consciousness: Diverse Sociopolitical Wisdoms and Ontological Healing in Sociopolitical Development

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Abstract

In this manuscript, we take up a “critical friend” perspective on sociopolitical development (SPD), seeking to expand the field’s understanding of the collective, intersectional, and dialectic qualities and dimensions in which sociopolitical youth development might occur. Specifically, we contribute to thinking around how SPD is conceptualized and deployed in relation to historically marginalized and racialized youth and communities. We offer ethnographic descriptions from two separate empirical investigations conducted with high school, community college, and university students of color to explore (a) the diverse sociopolitical wisdoms that students bring to educational settings, and the extent to which this wisdom can be sharpened collectively in the classroom, and (b) the ontological healing that can take place once these perspectives and knowledges are respected and promoted within educational spaces that take history and power seriously. Our article concludes with firm recommendations to theorists and practitioners concerning how SPD frameworks and practices might better leverage these goals of engaging diverse wisdoms and encouraging ontological healing to highlight the beyond-intellectual process of critical consciousness and liberation.

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Notes

  1. By this we seek to include a wide spectrum of historically marginalized identities and their communities that have been consistently constructed as ‘Other.’ This includes, but is not limited to: peoples of the global south, Indigenous peoples, racialized and people of color, Queer and LGBT individuals, women, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, as well as the considerable and complex intersectional identities that exist across these labels. For the sake of brevity in this paper, we will refer to these communities and youth, who are our focus, as ‘historically marginalized.’ Our hope is that this framing captures the historic and ongoing dimensions that allow marginalization to persist, while not being overly prescriptive to the dynamic ways in which youth see and construct themselves.

  2. We use this terminology to distinguish the particular, political history of Ethnic Studies beginning with the Third World Liberation front, from programs that may be cast as Ethnic Studies, but are geared towards area/historical overview studies of cultural groups.

  3. Due to the gendered nature of the Spanish language, Mexicana/o, Latina/o, or Chicana/o necessarily either fail to include, or privilege, a gendered identification by placing it first. Here, we use ‘@’ to locate both the ‘−a’ and ‘−o’ in the same space, as well as to recognize other constructions of gender beyond a female/male binary that deserve inclusion and space within these identity constructs.

  4. Italics in quotes are used to represent discursive shifts in the data as speaker’s own emphasis and tone changed. Double period “..” signals a short pause. A bracket ellipse “[…]” signals author removed some repetition or partial words and sounds for clarity.

  5. Possibly a reference to “community control,” from **Kwame Turé and Charles V. Hamilton’s (1967) Black power: the politics of liberation.

  6. The ‘Gang of Eight’ refers to the bi-partisan group of eight U.S. Senators tasked with the 2013 writing of comprehensive immigration reform by President Obama.

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Correspondence to Sonia Abigail Sánchez Carmen.

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Sánchez Carmen, S.A., Domínguez, M., Greene, A.C. et al. Revisiting the Collective in Critical Consciousness: Diverse Sociopolitical Wisdoms and Ontological Healing in Sociopolitical Development. Urban Rev 47, 824–846 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-015-0338-5

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