Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Michelle Fine

Subject Categories



art, embodied, participatory action research, youth studies


Braiding critical youth studies, social science methodologies, participatory action research, performance studies, and art, this dissertation investigates how we can produce knowledge collectively toward reimagining adolescence. Polling for Justice was a multi-generational participatory action research project that took place between 2008 and 2011. Polling for Justice was interested in understanding young people's lived experiences at the intersections of education, criminal justice, and public health in New York City. The study centered on a city-wide survey and a series of data-driven focus groups. The Polling for Justice research collective used participatory artistic-embodied methodologies to make sense of, and later perform, the mostly quantitative data. This dissertation argues that art can be considered a meaning-making process, and that social science scholarship can benefit from incorporating artistic approaches into the analysis process. Through a careful examination of data from the Polling for Justice study, parts of life stories from Polling for Justice researchers, and key moments from the participatory process of analyzing findings using artistic-embodied methodologies, this dissertation details how we can turn to art to engage in knowledge production towards re-imagining adolescence in the social sciences.

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