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Act I Scene I

Drama & Social Cohesion

[Re-]Constructing Identities within Education for Youth in Urban Contexts 

The Drama Education, Youth & Social Cohesion project (2002-2005) examined the experiences of adolescents in urban drama classrooms. The purpose of the study was to develop a theoretical and empirically grounded account of the dynamic social forces of inclusion and exclusion experienced by adolescents within their unique contexts of urban North American schools.

The study was a multi-sited (two in Toronto, Canada and two in New York City, USA) ethnographic project that investigated the extent to which drama education in classrooms illuminated the intersections of youth's personal lives with their school lives in the formation of their social identity.

From this core question, four primary objectives for the research emerged:

  1. To provide empirical evidence, through young people's own accounts, of the factors (curricular and institutional) which enhance and/or impede the development of social identities consistent with school success;

  2. To critically examine the features of drama pedagogy that actively engage students in the social concerns of peer relations;

  3. To analyze the ways in which youth participate in the creation of relevant curriculum projects within the robust dynamics of urban classrooms and;

  4. To comparatively study the ways in which socio-cultural research constructs in drama education studies advance alternative theoretical frameworks for the study of youth in urban schools.


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