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Loops, Lyrics, and Literacy: Songwriting as a Site of Resilience for an Urban Adolescent


  • Angela Kinney


This case study explores Christopher's (pseudonym) sustained participation in a nonprofit, afterschool community center, as he wrote and recorded music and lyrics in a digital recording studio. It examines the ways in which Christopher, in contrast to his performance in school, was highly participatory and engaged with textual production at the center. In particular, the author explores the purposes and functions that songwriting served for Christopher, and considers the ways in which songwriting functioned for Christopher as a “site for resilience,” or as a space in which he could navigate aspects of his lived experience. Analysis of Christopher's lyrics suggested three major areas of lived experience on which his songs centered: family experiences, peer relations, and issues in his community.