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The Making of a Teenage Service Class: Poverty and Mobility in an American City
April 17 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Human Development Seminar Series
“The Making of a Teenage Service Class: Poverty and Mobility in an American City”
Ray, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is an ethnographer specializing in children/youth, urban inequalities, race, class, and gender. Ray’s major publication includes: The Making of a Teenage Service Class: Poverty and Mobility in an American City (U. of California Press, 2017). She has published in various journals including Social Problems, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and The American Journal of Bioethics, and has several book chapters on urban issues, youth, education, and human rights. She also co-authored, As the Leaves Turn Gold: Aging Experiences of Asian Americans (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012)
In The Making of a Teenage Service Class, Ray uncovers the pernicious consequences of focusing on risk behaviors such as drug use, gangs, violence, and teen parenthood as the key to ameliorating poverty. Ray recounts her three years spent with sixteen impoverished black and brown youth, documenting their struggles to balance school and work while keeping commitments to family, friends, and lovers. Hunger, homelessness, untreated illnesses, and long hours spent traveling between work, school, and home disrupted their dreams of upward mobility. While families, schools, nonprofit organizations, academics, and policy makers stress risk behaviors in their efforts to end the cycle of poverty, Ray argues that this strategy reinforces class and racial hierarchies and diverts resources that could better support marginalized youth’s efforts to reach their educational and occupational goals.
This event is funded by a CSULB College of Liberal Arts Scholarly Intersections Grant and co-sponsored by the Departments of Human Development, Geography, and Sociology