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Doing Right By Becoming Something Different

Using ethnographic fieldwork conducted in a public high school located in the greater Barcelona area, Anne Ríos-Rojas focuses on the experiences of immigrant youth as they negotiate a sense of belonging in an ever more globalized society. Ríos-Rojas pays particular attention to the multiple and at times contradictory ways in which youth maneuver within a social landscape that is flooded with confusing messages about what it means to belong (or not) in a new society. Drawing richly on their voices, she describes how these youth navigate through discourses that at times locate them as delinquents and terrorists and, at other times, as victims who require saving—but always as outsiders. She concludes with an exploration of the theoretical and practical implications of attending to youth’s (re)visions of belonging and citizenship within an increasingly complex globalized world.

Teacher aides’ knowing and caring about students in terms of their humanity and competence resulted in their recognizing and addressing injustices experienced by students. In acting on students’ behalf, in “doing right by” each student, these aides enabled students to enact their formal right to education. The study findings, interpreted within a framework of relational social justice, add another dimension to what has already been documented in research literature about the paradoxical nature of teacher aides’ work.

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