Black Youth Matters

Transitions from School to Success

By Cecile Wright, P.J. Standen, Tina Patel

© 2010 – Routledge

176 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415995122
pub: 2009-12-02
US Dollars$47.95
Hardback: 9780415995108
pub: 2009-12-01
US Dollars$145.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

How do young black students respond, resist, and work to transform their school experience? How do young people adapt, survive, and then succeed in spite of their negative school experience? For an increasing number of marginalized black youth, the paths to social success can actually lie outside school walls.

Black Youth Matters presents a compelling, empirical picture of black youth who creatively respond to permanent school exclusion. Structural approaches to social stratification often set the terms of discussion around isolated narratives of individual "success stories." In this book, the authors intervene with a new point of view by focusing instead on collectives of broader black communities. They both engage with and move beyond structural models of stratification and education, thereby affirming the enduring importance of individual and collective aspiration—an impulse that has not been exhausted for black youth even in the face of systematic, longstanding, and overwhelming inequality. Based on long-term ethnographic research with young people permanently excluded from school, Black Youth Matters examines the resourcefulness of young black people in overcoming the process of school failure to forge more positive futures for themselves. This book should be of interest to sociologists, educators, anthropologists, policy-makers, as well as community activists.


"Black Youth Matters is an important and timely volume. The authors work towards a new language around social mobility—an intellectual triumph. They give us a new angle of vision on the question of race and how it is lived today."—Greg Dimitriadis, Series Editor, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, SUNY Buffalo

"The authors do a fantastic job of giving [black] youth a voice, and they provide an excellent forum for a discussion about policies regarding school exclusion….Future studies should look to take the theoretical knowledge produced in this book and use it for creating hypotheses that can be tested and used to support the notion that excluding students from school has negative effects."—Journal of Youth and Adolescence

Table of Contents

Series Editor Introduction


1. Theorising Youth Transitions: The Intersectionality of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Social Class

2. Resistance, Resilience and Empowering Habitus: Connecting Identities, Ambitions and ‘Success’

3. The role of Family and Kinship in Achieving ‘Success’

4. Peers and Friendship Networks in ‘Success’ Making

5. Collective Resistance: Community Networks and Social Capital in Success Making

6. Youth, ‘Race’/Ethnicity and Social Mobility in Contemporary Society

7. Understanding Black Youth, Success and Transitions in Society Today



About the Authors

Cecile Wright is Professor of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Her research focus is on race, ethnicity, gender and social class, education, postcolonial theory and black feminist theory.

Penny Standen is Professor in Health Psychology and Learning Disabilities at the University of Nottingham, UK. Her research focus is on socially excluded and disadvantaged groups and in developing research methods that allow previously excluded people to gain a voice.

Tina Patel is Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Salford, UK. Her expertise is in black and minority ethnic communities, violence and the criminal justice system.

About the Series

Critical Youth Studies

Set against the massive social, cultural, and material dislocations of the new century, Critical Youth Studies interrogates the complex cultural dimensions of young people’s everyday lives today. Drawing together the work of both well known and emerging scholars, this series focuses on "youth studies" as a self-constituting, trans-disciplinary area of inquiry. Operating largely at the specific intersection of education, sociology, and media studies, Critical Youth Studies features authored and edited books, drawing on a range of methods and approaches, treating the span of issues most relevant to youth today.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Multicultural Education
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General