This article was written in close connection with the following members of our research collective: Niara Calliste, Darius Francis, Candace Greene, Una Osato, Jaquana Pearson, Maybelline Santos, and Jessica Wise. The Polling for Justice project was made possible thanks to the Surdna Foundation, Overbrook Foundation, Hazen Foundation, Glass Foundation, Schott Foundation, the ADCO Foundation, Urban Youth Collaborative, and the Public Science Project and the Youth Studies Research Fund at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Contesting Privilege with Critical Participatory Action Research
Article first published online: 19 MAR 2012
© 2012 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Journal of Social Issues
Special Issue: Systems of Privilege: Intersections, Awareness, and Applications Issue Editors: Kim A. Case and Jonathan Iuzzini
Volume 68, Issue 1, pages 178–193, March 2012
How to Cite
Stoudt, B. G., Fox, M. and Fine, M. (2012), Contesting Privilege with Critical Participatory Action Research. Journal of Social Issues, 68: 178–193. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01743.x
- Issue published online: 19 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 19 MAR 2012
The construct of privilege has been undertheorized in the field of psychology. The discipline more commonly examines those who have been disenfranchised, marginalized, and discriminated against. However, psychologists concerned with social issues must also attend to questions of power and privilege. This article uses a collaborative research project with New York City youth and adults called Polling for Justice to engage in a discussion about privilege as it runs through three areas of that work: by design, in results, and through action. First, the paper argues that privilege is an epistemological standpoint of empirical psychology that has been disguised as objectivity. Next, that privilege is a set of material and social psychological conditions that protect adolescents as they develop, take risks, and mature. Finally, that those who hold privilege can embrace and model a sense of collective responsibility and solidarity, not retreat or passively empathize.