Using Counterstorytelling to Understand Identity Development and Center Adolescent Girls and Young Women of Color Impacted by Familial Incarceration
AuthorPech, Alexandria Sarissa
AdvisorToomey, Russell B.
Walsh, Michele E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to provide a nuanced understanding of the lived experiences, more specifically identity development, in adolescent Girls of Color experiencing parental or familial incarceration. Critical race theory and an intersectional lens served as a conceptual framework for distinguishing the unique impacts of familial incarceration on adolescent Girls of Color from those on the broader population of children of incarcerated parents. A critical qualitative counterstorytelling research design was used to explore three research questions: (a) How do adolescent Girls of Color experiencing familial incarceration form and make meaning of their identity as a child, sibling, relative, or grandchild of an incarcerated family member?; (b) How does being an adolescent Girl of Color with an incarcerated family member overlap with additional intersectional identities and intersect with multiple oppressions (i.e., sexism, classism, racism, and homophobia) that are produced across different contexts?; and (c) What is the role of structural contexts of development (i.e., schools, neighborhoods, families, prison systems) in the identity formation of adolescent Girls of Color experiencing familial incarceration? Seventeen adolescent Girls and young Women of Color, ages 14-24, participated in the study, which involved 30- to 150-minute semi-structured storytelling interviews. Through in vivo coding and code mapping of the data, three overarching themes emerged: (a) familial incarceration functioned as an externally-imposed barrier that limited opportunities for adolescent Girls of Color to engage in identity exploration and commitment processes, (b) adolescent Girls of Color are subjected to experiences of systemic oppression that intersect to shape their identity development, both within and outside the context of familial incarceration, and (c) incarceration acted as a barrier in the way people across family systems, school systems, neighborhood systems, and prison systems contributed to or hindered girls’ identity development through absence of support and presence of harm. Findings revealed how girls reacted and responded to racism, gender inequality, heterosexism, and classism within and outside the context of familial incarceration. Findings also shed light on the heterogeneity that exists in girls’ experiences of familial incarceration at the intersection of race, class, gender, type of family member incarceration, as well as unique interactions within their schools, families, neighborhoods, and the criminal legal system. Given the intersectional patterns of marginalization and harm in the context of familial incarceration, the study contributes to the limited body of research on how adolescent Girls of Color develop their identity across their everyday environments. It also begins to interrogate existing and non-existent policies, protocols and practices that treat familial incarceration as a homogenous experience that impacts all young people the same way.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family & Consumer Sciences