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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Neoliberalization of Latino Men and Boys: Power and Resistance in a School-based Mentorship Program

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A growing number of school district and community programs are seeking to remedy the achievement gap experienced by Latino boys through Latino male mentorship programs. Indicative of neoliberal shifts in Latinx education, these programs often involve public-private partnerships and assume a damaged Latino boy in need of technocratic and innovative solutions, rather than structural changes. Through an ethnographic case study of one Latino male mentorship program in an urban school district in California, this study explores the ways the administrative power of Latino male programming constructs the ideal Latino male subject through neoliberal values of individualism, excellence and earning potential, and pushes boys to be the future hetero-patriarchs of their community. Furthermore, based on in-depth interviews with the mentors and boys of the program, as well as one year of participant observations, this paper uncovers the ways these discourses are lived, embodied, and/or resisted in the classroom among boys and mentors.

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