Examining the Intersections of Popular Culture and Youth Radio After-School

Dana Walker, University of Northern Colorado
This paper explores the question of how youth media educators navigate the tensions that arise when youth radio meets popular culture in after-school settings. Presenting findings from a two-year ethnographic study, I examine the perspectives and diverse responses of a teacher, a youth radio trainer, and a hip-hop journalist to the introduction of popular culture in the after-school setting, contextualizing these responses in relation to perspectives articulated and developments observed during research on the program in the classroom context the previous year. The disjuncture serves as an entry point for examining the contested models of youth radio, empowerment, literacy, and voice that were at work within this project. Such an inquiry can shed light on the tensions that inevitably arise in youth media collaborations, in which the voices multiply, and internal contradictions become visible.
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