Chapter 10: Youth Oppression and Elder Oppression

Youth Oppression

1. Burman, E. (1994). Deconstructing developmental psychology. New York: Routledge.

This book addresses how shifts in advanced capitalism have produced new understandings of children, and a new (and more punitive) range of institutional responses to children. It engages with the paradoxes of childhood in an era when young adults are increasingly economically dependent on their families, and in a political context of heightened insecurity. The new edition includes an updated review of developments in psychological theory (in attachment, evolutionary psychology, theory of mind, and cultural-historical approaches), as well as updates and reflects upon the changed focus on fathers and fathering. It offers new perspectives on the connections between Piaget and Vygotsky and now connects much more closely with discussions from the sociology of childhood and critical educational research. Coverage has been expanded to include more material on child rights debates, and a new chapter addresses practice dilemmas around child protection, which engages even more with the "raced" and gendered effects of current policies involving children.

2. Cammarota, J., & Fine, M. (2008). Youth participatory action research: A pedagogy for transformational resistance. In J. Cammarota & M. Fine (Eds.), Revolutionizing education: Youth in participatory action research in motion (pp. 1–12). New York: Routledge.

Puts young people at the center of their own lives and communities and supports young people to engage as researchers and change makers.

3. Clay, A. (2012). The hip-hop generation fights back: Youth, Activism and post-civil rights politics.New York: NYU Press.

From youth violence, to the impact of high stakes educational testing, to editorial hand-wringing over the moral failures of hip-hop culture, young people of color are often portrayed as gang-affiliated, “troubled,” and ultimately, dangerous. This book examines how youth activism has emerged to address the persistent inequalities that affect urban youth of color. Based on two years of fieldwork with youth affiliated with two non-profit organizations in Oakland, California, The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back shows how youth integrate the history of social movement activism of the 1960s, popular culture strategies like hip-hop and spoken word, as well as their experiences in the contemporary urban landscape, to mobilize their peers. Ultimately, Clay’s comparison of the two youth organizations and their participants expands our understandings of youth culture, social movements, popular culture, and race and ethnic relations.

4. Crenshaw, K. W., Ocen, P., & Nanda, J. (2015). Black girls matter: Pushed out, overpoliced and underprotected. African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies. Retrieved from

Crenshaw, a leading authority in how law and society are shaped by race and gender, argues that an intersectional approach encompassing how related identity categories such as race, gender, and class overlap to create inequality on multiple levels is necessary to address the issue of school discipline and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Elder Oppression

1. Calasanti, T. M., & Slevin, K. F. (2001). Gender, social inequalities and aging. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

This book looks at ways in which age intersects with gender as well as race, class, and sexual identity. It examines such areas as work and retirement, body image, sexuality, health, family relationships, and informal care.

5. Nelson, T. E. (Ed.) (2002). Ageism: Stereotyping and prejudice against older persons. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

This book summarizes research in gerontology, psychology, sociology, and communication related to ageism, and covers the origins and effects of ageism, including stigmatization and marginalization. It also offers suggestions for reducing ageism.

6. Palmore, E. B., Branch, L., & Harris, D. K. (Eds.) (2005). Encyclopedia of ageism. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc.

This comprehensive review contains more than 125 entries on ageism, from abuse in nursing homes to voice quality. Topics cover concepts, theories, and facts about the ways the elderly, and in particular older women, are stereotyped and mistreated. It includes Palmore’s “Facts on Aging Quiz,” a two-part assessment composed of 50 true-and-false statements that “can be used as an indirect measure of both negative and positive ageism.”

Youth Oppression/Adultism
These videos define and discuss adultism/youth oppression and illustrate some of the impacts on young people. Many of these videos center on the voices and thinking of young people, and others center on the voices and ideas of adult allies. Videos by allies can support adults to challenge adult supremacy and adultism in their own lives and in their relationships with young people.
Ageism/Elder Oppression
This YouTube Playlist defines and discusses ageism/elder oppression and illustrates various ways that elder oppression targets and impacts elders. These videos center on the voices of elders and adult allies and focus on elder oppression in the media and other cultural institutions, in health care, and in interpersonal relationships.
Ageism & Adultism Videos
These videos define and discuss the authors’ definitions of ageism (elder oppression) and adultism (youth oppression) as presented in Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, 3rd edition.
Ableism [Video file]. Retrieved from
Youth/Adult Partnerships & the Empowerment Issue
Includes a PowerPoint presentation that outlines nine things adult allies can do to support young people. Also, see the Digital Citizenship section of this website.
National Youth Rights Association
We are the Youth: Chronicling the Stories of LGBT Youth in America
Elder Justice Coalition
Rich website/blog on aging with lots of interesting discussion.