Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



The purpose of this research is to examine the dominant narrative of adolescence/juvenile delinquency and to question what makes this discourse possible. I use a poststructuralist perspective that thoroughly questions, dismantles, reveals, and analyzes this discourse in order to uncover hidden or obscure motives that shape how we understand adolescent individuals. Keeping in mind that everything is a construction, I investigate how the discourse works rather than what it means, and in the process I search for whether or not power or some type of oppression is involved. While conducting the interrogation and analysis procedure of the dominant narrative, I compare the term scarcity, which implies close-mindedness, manipulation, and control, and abundance, which implies open-mindedness, flexibility, and generosity, in terms of which the dominant narrative more clearly represents. As this ongoing analytical process takes place, I also consider the desirability and need to write a new narrative of adolescence/juvenile delinquency With qualitative research as the framework, I adopt a methodology grounded in narrative inquiry: open, flexible methodology promotes new understandings and different meanings. Narrative inquiry involves stories—it is a space for understanding experiences. This study inspects different types of stories: historical stories, stories related to the influence of constructed labels and identity formation, a story presented in poetic form of an individual who spent time in a juvenile prison, and my story; an autoethnography of my experience during the thirty-three years I worked in a juvenile prison. As the researcher, my endeavor is to develop greater self-understanding, a better understanding of others; to give voice to the stories of marginalized adolescent/juvenile delinquent population that are seldom heard; and to promote an expanded social awareness in readers that will help them develop more empathetic thinking. Having concluded that the dominant narrative of adolescence/juvenile delinquency is steeped in an attitude of scarcity, I suggest that a new narrative based on abundance is needed. This new narrative will not know the meaning of scarcity. It will only recognize the concept of caring and encourage positive relationships, an aura of plenty, open-mindedness, generosity, tolerance, understanding, forgiveness, and individual dignity.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hendry, P.



Included in

Education Commons