Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2012 Issue »

    Critical Bifocality and Circuits of Privilege

    Expanding Critical Ethnographic Theory and Design

    Lois Weis and Michelle Fine
    Critical Bifocality and Circuits of PrivilegeIn this article, Lois Weis and Michelle Fine introduce critical bifocality as a way to render visible the relations between groups to structures of power, to social policies, to history, and to large sociopolitical formations. In this collaboration, the authors draw upon ethnographic examples highlighting the macro-level structural dynamics related to globalization and neoliberalism. The authors focus on the ways in which broad-based economic and social contexts set the stage for day-to-day actions and decisions among privileged and nonprivileged parents and students in relation to schooling. Weis and Fine suggest that critical bifocality enables us to consider how researchers might account empirically for global, national, and local transformations as insinuated, embodied, and resisted by youth and adults trying to make sense of current educational and economic possibilities in massively shifting contexts.

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    Lois Weis is State University of New York Distinguished Professor of Sociology of Education at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She has written extensively about the current predicament of White, African American, and Latino/a working class and poor youth and young adults, and the complex role that gender and race play in their lives in light of contemporary dynamics associated with the global knowledge economy, new patterns of emigration, and the movement of cultural and economic capital across national boundaries. She is the author and/or editor of numerous books and articles relating to race, class, gender, education, and the economy. Her most recent volumes include Education and Social Class: Global Perspectives (with Nadine Dolby, Routledge, 2012); Class Warfare: Class and Race in Affluent and Elite Secondary Schools (with Kristin Cipollone and Heather Jenkins, University of Chicago Press, forthcoming). Weis is past president of the American Educational Studies Association and immediate past editor of the American Educational Research Journal, Social and Institutional Analysis section. Weis sits on numerous editorial and advisory boards, including the International Advisory Group of the Forum for Youth, Participation and Democracy housed at Cambridge University. She is an Honorary Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and has lectured worldwide.

    Michelle Fine is a Distinguished Professor of Social Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Urban Education at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Fine has authored a number of texts on educational (in)justice across settings, including Framing Dropouts (SUNY Press, 1991), Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School and Institutional Change (with Lani Guinier and Jane Balin, Beacon Press, 1996), Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison for Women (publicscienceproject.com, 2001), and, most recently, Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education (with Michael Fabricant, Teachers College Press, 2012). Fine’s conceptual work on the missing discourse of desire, the hyphenated identities of Muslim American youth (Muslim American Youth, with Selcuk Sirin, NYU Press, 2008), and her theoretical, historic, and epistemological writings on circuits of dispossession, privilege and critical resistance, and critical participatory action research are cited widely in the United States and internationally. Fine was an inaugural Honorary Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and was honored with the Henry Murray Award from the American Psychological Association in 2012, the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Fellowship for Mentorship in 2012, the Kurt Lewin Award from the American Psychological Association in 2011, and the Morton Deutsch Award from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 2005.

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    Summer 2012 Issue


    Critical Bifocality and Circuits of Privilege
    Expanding Critical Ethnographic Theory and Design
    Lois Weis and Michelle Fine
    Legally White, Socially “Mexican”
    The Politics of De Jure and De Facto School Segregation in the American Southwest
    Rubén Donato and Jarrod S. Hanson
    Responding to Racism and Racial Trauma in Doctoral Study
    An Inventory for Coping and Mediating Relationships
    Kimberly A. Truong and Samuel D. Museus
    Identity Constructions and Negotiations Among 1.5- and Second-Generation Nigerians
    The Impact of Family, School, and Peer Contexts
    Janet T. Awokoya
    Call and Responsibility
    Critical Questions for Youth Spoken Word Poetry
    Susan Weinstein and Anna West

    Book Notes

    Changing on the Job
    Jennifer Garvey Berger

    “Multiplication Is for White People”
    Lisa Delpit

    American Teacher
    Vanessa Roth and Brian McGinn (Directors)

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