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A red light at the intersection: an application of the theory of intersectionality to the success of the urban debate league

Click to view the dissertation via Digital dissertation consortium
Author Arbenz, Casey Matthew
ISBN/ISSN 0493600426
Broad Subject Language and linguistics
Summary This study examined the success of the Urban Debate League (UDL), a program designed to provide students from economically disadvantaged high schools the ability to compete in high school forensics competitions in which they might otherwise be unable to participate. This study attempted to uncover whether or not the UDL is succumbing to discrimination practices that plague much of our society. Specifically, this project focused on the theory of intersectionality in the context of high school debate, to see if the Urban Debate League is correcting oppression and to observe ways in which it may be perpetuating inequities. This study attempted to evaluate intersectionality theory in terms of high school debaters to see if any correlation exists between the identity of high school debaters and their success at debate tournaments. Given that critical studies have a long history in the field of communication (Littlejohn, 1999,p. 225), this study was generated from the critical social science perspective, a paradigm that is primarily interested in evaluating the experiences of real people and focusing on the power constructs that cause oppression. Results of the study indicate that intersectional oppression is indeed a factor at invitational debate tournaments, but is not, to a statistically significant degree, prevalent at tournaments where only Urban Debate League students are in attendance.
Language English
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Click to view the dissertation via Digital dissertation consortium
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