This qualitative instrumental case study explores how student members of an alternative educational program in a successful public middle school constructed identity, and how they interpreted their schooling experiences in relation to hegemonic educational practices. It draws on sociocultural and postmodern theories to focus on these youths’ identities and on their perspectives of self and school practices. Its multiple methods collected data through alternative and mainstream classroom observations, focus group sessions, semi-structured individual interviews with students, parents, and school professionals, and an analysis of school documents. The youth participants of this study held multiply-constructed identities, and actively resisted and affirmed others’ constructions of their “differences.” Additionally, they readily deconstructed educational practices and offered a number of suggestions for reforms. This study adds to the literature on identity construction and advocates for the inclusion of non-conforming youths’ own sociocultural and change oriented perspectives, along with increased reform efforts targeted towards this lesser-recognized population.
Identity, At-Risk, Alternative Education, Case Study, Non-Conforming Youth, Middle School, School Practices
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.
Recommended APA Citation
Harnischfeger, A. M. (2015). Identity Construction in the Margins: A Case Study Involving Non-Conforming Youth. The Qualitative Report, 20(8), 1141-1163. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol20/iss8/1