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Stanton-Salazar, R. D. (2001).

Defensive network orientations as internalized oppression: How schools mediate the influence of social class on adolescent development. In B. Biddle (Ed.), Social class, poverty, & education. (Missouri Symposium on Research and Educational Policy) Vol. 3. New York: Routlege-Falmer. The Scourge of Internalized Oppression
[excerpt from chapter]

Across western capitalist societies, social oppression inevitably creates distress in subordinated people, usually beginning in childhood with conditions of material deprivation, distressed and overburdened parents, problem-plagued communities, resourcepoor schools, and systematic invalidating messages by mainstream institutions (i.e., the media, the school, the police and penal system). Two socialization mechanisms operate to turn repeated distressful experiences into chronic thought and behavior patterns (Aguilar, 1995). The first has to do with the hidden injuries of class, race, and gender (Sennett and Cobb, 1972). The second has to do with the unavailability of institutional means to enable young people and adults to interrogate how systemic forces wreck havoc on young peoples emotional and intellectual development (Freire, 1972; 1973; Giroux, 1988). These two mechanisms combine to define the nature of what is called internalized oppression. The process begins with regular or systematic insults to young peoples fragile inner selves, creating emotional distress and injury. Developmental psychologists tell us that the human mind and body is normally able to recover from such insults through emotional discharge (e.g., crying, expressing anger or outrage) (Miller, 1997). Social oppression (classism, racism, and patriarchy), however, systematically situates children and young people in settings and relationships which are perceived unsafe or threatening or unwelcoming of emotional discharge. As a result, such discharge is blocked, with the resultant feelings suppressed, then eventually repressed. Ego defenses are then built to protect the self. Ego defenses, however, are notoriously unreliable. Subsequent hurts stimulate previous injuries, while emotional discharge is again blocked. This cycle leads to distress patterns which become manifest is many ways; in the absence of mediation via

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culturally-healing practices (e.g., ethnic-based rituals, family social support, religious ceremonies, time-honored cultural mythologies), distress patterns emerge as forms of alienation (rage, fear and distrust, normlessness, hopelessness, social estrangement, prejudice and bigotry). Lipsky (1987) states that more often than not, distress patterns among oppressed people get played out in the only two places deemed safe to do so. First, upon members of our own group--particularly upon those over whom we have some degree of power or control, our children. Second, upon ourselves through all manner of self-invalidation, self-doubt, isolation, fear, feelings of powerlessness and despair (Lipsky, 1987, p. 1). The second mechanism of internalized oppression has to do with the unavailability of cultural or institutional practices oriented toward illuminating how group members have played host to the system, and thus have unwittingly aided in regulating their own oppression (Friere, 1972; 1973). This structured unavailability also includes those dialogic practices which allow group members to identify and reinforce those cultural forms that have served historically to foster resiliency and positive meaning in the community (Giroux, 1988). These distress patterns also become manifest in young peoples developing network orientation, motivating some to avoid, reject, or subvert various relationships within the domains of family and school. The adaptive responses of a growing segment of inner-city minority youth is a case deserving particular attention. Many of these youth exhibit a social character which patently rejects the apparent accommodation and conformity of immigrants, while adopting the most excessive aspects of individualism, sustained only by a highly adapted, defensive, and peer-focused communalism (Vigil, 1988). Key features of this collective network orientation include a degree of mistrust or wariness, born of social conditions within the family and community that foster competition for scarce resources. Thrust into such situations, trust is not simply a given, but something

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to be calculated (Snchez-Jankowski, 1991, p. 24). Persistent calculations and wariness, however, usually leads to self-reliance, a personality characteristic thoroughly romanticized in the media as a core American value, but which fades into a perverted fantasy in the face of sociological evidence showing middle-class folk as deeply embedded in resource-rich networks and relationships (Fischer, 1982; Warren, 1981). Self-reliance leads inevitably to social isolation, an emotional and social detachment from those within the family, community, and school who are capable of providing valuable forms of social and institutional support. Mistrust, self-reliance, and social isolation do not leave open many possibilities for pro-social coping strategies, or for social integration within key institutional arenas, such as the school.

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Defensive Network Orientations as Internalized Oppression: How Schools Mediate the Influence of Social Class on Adolescent Development

By Ricardo D. Stanton-Salazar Department of Sociology University of California, San Diego

MISSOURI SYMPOSIUM ON RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL POLICY: SOCIAL CLASS, POVERTY, AND EDUCATION February 17-18, 1998

TO APPEAR IN:

Social Class, Poverty, & Education. Edited by Bruce Biddle. Missouri Symposium on Research and Educational Policy, Vol. 3. New York: Garland.

March 29, 1998 Stanton-Salazar, R. D. (2001). Defensive network orientations as internalized oppression: How schools mediate the influence of social class on adolescent development. In B.

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Biddle (Ed.), Social class, poverty, & education. (Missouri Symposium on Research and Educational Policy) Vol. 3. New York: Routlege-Falmer. Outline of Chapter TOWARD A NETWORK-ANALYTIC MODEL OF MINORITY YOUTH SOCIALIZATION Theories of Socialization and The Design of Educational Interventions Tales of My Expedition THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NETWORK ORIENTATIONS IN MINORITY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT Networks as Conduits of Class and Racial Privilege and Oppression Network and Help-Seeking Orientations and Child Development Institutional Influences on Network and Help-seeking Orientations The Scourge of Internalized Oppression The Importance of School Personnel in the Socialization of Working-class Youth IMPLICATIONS FOR RADICAL EDUCATIONAL INTERVENTION Concludingcomments.

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