This qualitative case study examines how students in an inner city high school engage with hip hop and how it informs their understanding of issues around race, identity and social agency. More specifically, the research focuses on three hip hop venues organized and led by students in the form of rap, dance and/or poetry slam events, that operate at school outside the formal curriculum and class timetable. Framed within sociocultural and poststructural perspectives on race, identity and social agency, this research examines how contemporary writings on popular culture, hip hop and critical pedagogy intersect and provide a useful lens for analyzing these hip hop venues. The study is grounded in an interpretive epistemology and qualitative approaches were used to gather data through individual and focus group interviews, observations and a collection of artefacts. The research reveals that in their discourse on hip hop, some students reproduced racial classification schemes, while others called into question their marginalization and enacted alternate identities.
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Thesis advisor: Dagenais, Diane
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