Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
Hegemony, Ideology & Oppositional Consciousness: Undocumented Youth and the Personal-Political Struggle for Educational Justice
- Author(s): Negron-Gonzales, Genevieve
- et al.
Social movement practitioners have grappled for years with the role that ideology and consciousness play in bringing about social change. This article asks how lived experiences of institutional exclusion shape the political consciousness of undocumented Latino students. Through my ethnographic study of undocumented youth activists working on a mainstream legislative campaign, I posit that not only is oppositional consciousness a spectrum, as previous theorists have claimed, but it is also, in a Gramscian sense, forged out of the dialectic between ideas that are both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic. It is not the case that counter-hegemonic ideas win over, even temporarily, leading to oppositional consciousness. Rather, oppositional consciousness is forged through the constant negotiation between the two. This article draws on 18 months of fieldwork and is a critical inquiry into the possibilities and limitations of ideas and ideology in building social change.