Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kevin A. Yelvington, D. Phil.

Committee Member

S. Elizabeth Bird, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carol Bryant, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cheryl H. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rebecca K. Zarger, Ph.D.


PhotoVoice, Political Economy, Practice theory, Anthropology of Youth, Exclusion


In the social sciences, research on black male youth (BMY) experiences in traditional academic settings has been limited to their failure to achieve due to their perceived dysfunctional family structure, gender and ethnic identity, social class, and social structural constraints. Characterized by the anthropological investigation into youth cultural, Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP) framework, a theory of practice that includes an alternative framework of learning, and a mixed method approach with an emphasis on capturing the youth perspective through a PhotoVoice process, this research captures a dimension of BMY educational experiences by describing how exclusion from traditional academic settings is produced. Exclusion, as described in this research, is the stage of academic, social and cultural separation leading up to a student dropping out of school. Using case profiles of five BMY who have been traditionally excluded from public schools, this research focuses on how the social forces, such as family structure, gender, ethnicity, social class, and social structural constraints, interact to produce said exclusion. The results of this research indicate that the production of exclusion is an obscure process that is located in and hidden behind: traditional views of learning of BMY and adult stakeholders in education, unexamined assumptions and biases of BMY and adult stakeholders in education, and State sponsored policies and regulations. The implications of this research are discussed, in terms of theory and application. Applied anthropologist in education must take a theoretical role in uncovering ingrained belief systems and unexamined paradigms that control our educational institutions. To move applied anthropology into the next dimension, this study also addresses the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to create and implement sustainable solutions for the various issues present in United States’ educational institutions.