Embracing problems, processes, and contact zones: Using youth participatory action research to challenge adultism

Abstract provided on behalf of the author, Genia M Bettencourt

In the United States, adultism creates dynamics in which youth are oppressed and their experiences dismissed. Youth participatory action research (YPAR), a research method and theoretical construct, provides one forum through which to challenge adultism by providing youth with voice and input. Such an approach contrasts with traditional banking models of education to focus on the assets youth possess. In this article, I argue that YPAR can serve as a tool for liberation when approached as a contact zone, problem-posing education, and a process rather than a product. I then advocate for key considerations of YPAR work to include the need to challenge research norms, encourage reflexivity, and promote youth-centered approaches. These considerations span individual, collective, and institutional measures to support equitable and just applications of YPAR work.


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