Critical Consciousness and Political Engagement Among Marginalized Youth
Matthew Diemer

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Michigan State University

Primary Discipline

Critical consciousness represents a critical analysis of and perceived empowerment to change social inequities. It is theorized to help marginalized youth overcome structural constraints on human agency and is predictive of their mental health, school engagement, and occupational attainment in adulthood. It is therefore important to identify educational practices and contexts that facilitate critical consciousness. The school, parents, and peers are salient contexts in youths’ development and examined here as predictors of critical consciousness. This project will also address disparities in marginalized youths’ political participation by examining the direct effects of critical consciousness and indirect effects of these contexts on youths’ voting behavior. Applying structural equation modeling to large scale survey datasets will model the hypothesized “causal chain” among large samples that are followed longitudinally. This project will inform the educational and youth development literatures and may illuminate how teachers, peer networks, and parents engender engagement with social movements and electoral politics. By providing a “road map” of specific practices and emphases that predict desired outcomes, this project would inform teacher practice and youth development interventions. Finally, one broader implication of this project would be greater attention to marginalized youths’ perceptions of and responses to marginalization in educational scholarship, policy, and practice.
About Matthew Diemer

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