“We're Trying to Take Action”: Transformative Agency, Role Re-mediation, and the Complexities of Youth Participatory Action Research

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This article seeks to illuminate the complexity of youth participatory action research (YPAR) through the use of two concepts: (1) transformative agency, a collective initiative to address conflicts and contradictions in activity systems, and (2) role re-mediation, the disruption of power relations. We demonstrate that these concepts, in comparison to the concept of civic participation, allow for an expanded consideration of the cross-contextual processes that are involved in collective mobilization to enact justice. To explore this area, we examine an afterschool YPAR program involving the adult authors and youth of color with intersectional identities—including emergent bilinguals and youth perceived as struggling academically. We illustrate three avenues of transformative agency and role re-mediation within the YPAR program: (1) engagement with critical fiction and non-fiction texts that expose power relations; (2) interactions between individuals within and beyond the YPAR space; and (3) production and dissemination of knowledge. Through this exploration, we illustrate how the lenses of transformative agency and role re-mediation can provide new understandings of change-oriented action in YPAR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-154
Number of pages13
JournalEquity and Excellence in Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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