Last week I tweeted about this article from Sociological Images via Racialicous: Framing Children’s Deviances. In her brief analysis/comparison of the media representation of two boys’ (one white, one black) troublemaking joy rides, Lisa Wade references a book that might be important for thinking about how race shapes our understandings and assessments of troublemaking in its various forms: Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity. I checked this book out from the library and just started reading it this afternoon. From what I have read so far, I think that Ann Arnette Ferguson could offer some important insights on how we discipline children and shape/regulate/distort their expressions of troublemaking.
Check out what she has to say about trouble and the purpose of her study:
But trouble is not only the site of regulation and stigmatization. Under certain conditions it can also be a powerful occasion for identification and recognition. This study investigates this aspect of punishment through an exploration of the meaning of school rules and the interpretation of trouble from the youth’s perspective. What does it mean to hear adults say that you are bound for jail and to understand that the future predicted for you is “doing time” inside prison walls? What does school trouble mean under such deleterious circumstances? How does a ten-year-old black boy fashion a sense of self within this context (2-3)?
I really like how she doesn’t just theorize about how schools “create, shape and regulate” students’ social identities, but she also discusses the agency of the students and their participation in and resistance to schools’ rules and regulations (2). I can’t wait to read more.