Empowerment in a controlling place: youth program facilitators and resistance to school discipline
Greenberg, Max A.
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Citation (published version)M Greenberg. "Empowerment in a Controlling Place: Youth Program Facilitators and Resistance to School Discipline." Sociological Perspectives, Volume 61, Issue 4, pp. 610 - 625. https://doi.org/10.1177/0731121417742115
Research has described a nearly monolithic culture of control that shapes the disciplinary practices and experiences of youth in urban schools. However, existing research does not adequately account for the diverse actions of school-based adults in relation to school discipline. Drawing on four years of fieldwork in violence prevention programs implemented in classrooms throughout Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), this study explores how program facilitators create and sustain a cultural frame of empowerment within the context of the culture of control. As the findings reveal, facilitators narrowed and refined empowerment, emphasizing student anonymity and leveling classroom authority. This enactment of empowerment temporarily subverted disciplinary and punitive mechanisms in ways that meaningfully impacted individuals. This article applies the theoretical framework of cultural heterogeneity to educational contexts, arguing that while schools are sites of an overarching culture of control, school-based adults enact multiple, often conflicting cultural frames.