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Open Access Publications from the University of California


InterActions is an open access journal hosted by the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library, edited and managed by graduate students, based at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Our publication’s authors foster an open and critical dialogue with readers and colleagues through applying diverse social justice frameworks to the discussion of pressing issues in the fields of education and information.


Deliberative Barbarians: Reconciling the Civic and the Agonistic in Democratic Education

The history of civics education in the United States suggests a somewhat adversarial relationship between schools and parents. We view the relationship as an evolving and strained social contract; unresolved is the scope of school influence in relation to that of parents. A high school teacher’s decision to open up a classroom for discussion on contested issues can roust resentful parents, many of whom view such activity as indoctrination. Given this sociopolitical backdrop, we propose a framework for curricular reform in which agonistic expression is tempered by the active involvement of parents in family political communication. We explicate a contingent model of deliberative learning, whereby political exchanges in one context contribute to exchanges in another context. With the student as conduit, interpersonal political communication flows back and forth between the classroom and the living room. We apply the model to research on Kids Voting USA curricula to illustrate the heuristic value of contingent learning.

Self and Society in Youth Organizing

This study uses portraiture methodology to reconsider the relationship between one Latina youth activist-researcher-educator and one after-school community based youth organizing program as one attempt to address the problem of educational access, civic engagement and democratic knowledge production for urban youth. The issue of self and society arose from the yearlong collection of data. The analysis examines the ways the individual and the youth organizing institution can be reconsidered from four different vantage points—one side, interaction, mutual constitution, and political positions—on self and society. By examining the relationship between self and a social institution researchers and practitioners can reconsider the issues of civic engagement, knowledge production and educational access and equity in youth organizing.

The Future of YouTube: Critical Reflections on YouTube Users’ Discussion over Its Future

This paper examines how the sociopolitical and educational potentials of YouTube have been exercised by analyzing users’ discussion practices by posting videos. Compared to literature that deals with the Internet’s sociopolitical impact, I argue that YouTube has played a key role in implementing the democratization of media spectacles. Different forms of Internet use are discussed with regard to YouTube’s contributions. First of all, the discursive practices of YouTube validate Habermas’s notion of the public sphere by suggesting video communication as a new perspective of participatory democracy. Creating community is another key notion that users consider to be the future of YouTube; users believe it facilitates interactive and creative communication among different cultures, races, and societies. However, there is little consideration of how individuals make critical use of YouTube as a means for sociopolitical engagement. Analyzing the users’ arguments in their video responses, this paper examines the strengths, as well as the limitations, of discourses on the future of YouTube, and reconsiders its sociopolitical potential. It ultimately indicates the necessity of critical pedagogic interventions to make full use of YouTube.

Narrative Inquiry as a Decolonising Methodology

As a distinct form of qualitative research, narrative can be used as a method of inquiry in order to examine past experiences and decolonise minds regarding the “still persistent colonial mission” (Willinsky in Abdi & Richardson, 2008, p. viii). Narrative acts as a lens through which we see anew – it is a means to explore unfamiliar sociohistorical context. A significant characteristic of narrative is that it can allow for new meanings and diverse ways of knowing to emerge. In this paper, I highlight how I use narrative as a decolonising methodology in which, according to Edward Said (1978), indigenous people are responsible to provide their narratives to counter the perspective of outsiders. In particular, I include Arab Muslim women’s narratives that counter Orientalist perceptions of Muslim women as passive victims of their faith.

Literature Review

Critical Race Theory, Asian Americans, and Higher Education: A Review of Research

In this review, the author incorporates her own personal narrative into the discussion as a way of enriching and contextualizing the intersection of critical race theory, Asian Americans, and higher education. From the issues explored in this paper, two key themes emerged: 1) Asian Americans should not be considered as one monolithic group, but rather their educational experiences and outcomes should be disaggregated and 2) issues of race and racism, particularly as it challenges the model minority stereotype, should be addressed openly.