We Are All Equal: Student Culture and Identity at a Mexican Secondary School, 1988-1998 (Paperback)
  • We Are All Equal: Student Culture and Identity at a Mexican Secondary School, 1988-1998 (Paperback)
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We Are All Equal: Student Culture and Identity at a Mexican Secondary School, 1988-1998 (Paperback)

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Paperback 456 Pages / Published: 12/07/2001
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We Are All Equal is the first full-length ethnography of a Mexican secondary school available in English. Bradley A. U. Levinson observes student life at a provincial Mexican junior high, often drawing on poignant and illuminating interviews, to study how the the school's powerful emphasis on equality, solidarity, and group unity dissuades the formation of polarized peer groups and affects students' eventual life trajectories.
Exploring how students develop a cultural "game of equality" that enables them to identify-across typical class and social boundaries-with their peers, the school, and the nation, Levinson considers such issues as the organizational and discursive resources that students draw on to maintain this culture. He also engages cultural studies, media studies, and globalization theory to examine the impact of television, music, and homelife on the students and thereby better comprehend-and problematize-the educational project of the state. Finding that an ethic of solidarity is sometimes used to condemn students defined as different or uncooperative and that little attention is paid to accommodating the varied backgrounds of the students-including their connection to indigenous, peasant, or working class identities-Levinson reveals that their "schooled identity" often collapses in the context of migration to the United States or economic crisis in Mexico. Finally, he extends his study to trace whether the cultural game is reinforced or eroded after graduation as well as its influence relative to the forces of family, traditional gender roles, church, and global youth culture.
We Are All Equal will be of particular interest to educators, sociologists, Latin Americanists, and anthropologists.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822326991
Number of pages: 456
Weight: 685 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 29 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Combining the best features of critical and interpretive ethnography, Levinson shows the forces of history and economy that bear on students and their families while providing rich descriptive detail that is sensitive to nuances of meaning in local social action. Thus the students are portrayed as knowledgeable agents who take action and make sense within a universe of social gravity. The Mexican case contrasts with Euro-American critical studies of schooling that tend toward cynicism and over-determinism. Useful appendices on research methods and social theory conclude the work."-Frederick Erickson, University of California, Los Angeles
"Levinson shows us how to think in a different way about studying youth and identity construction in a particular sociohistorical context. This first-rate and innovative ethnography will establish him as one of the best newcomers on the scene."-Douglas Foley, author of The Heartland Chronicles
"A multi-layered case study. . . . This book is for those who want to critically understand Mexican student culture, and who want to develop conceptualization and theory building in relation to cultural production and critical ethnography. Levinson's understanding from an ethnic perspective, as one who identifies closely with the ethnic perspectives of students, aptly fits Paul Willis's definition of ethnography." -- Martha Montero-Sieburth * Anthropology & Education Quarterly *
"Levinson's work is valuable for its careful methodology, its illuminating study of Mexican education and adolescent culture, and its contribution to discussions of reproduction theory and resistance theory. We Are All Equal is well suited for graduate and undergraduate upper-level courses in educational institutions, social and cricital theory, Latin American studies, Mexican studies, qualitative methods, and race and ethnic relations." -- Catherine Fobes * American Journal of Sociology *
"[A] powerful critical ethnography of Mexican student culture and identity formation." -- Octavio Augusto Pescador * Comparative Education Review *
"One of the strongest aspects of this work is its theoretical sophistication. Levinson is very well read and his list of references is impressive. . . . The rich data alone make this book worth reading and owning. . . . Levinson's text is a hopeful and compelling account of the worlds inhabited by Mexican secundaria students. It should prove useful to scholars both in the US and Mexico, and I look forward to reading the ways that educators here in the US make use of this work." -- Robert T. Jimenez * Journal of Curriculum Studies *

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