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Downed by Friendly Fire: Black Girls, White Girls, and Suburban Schooling

Signithia Fordham

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ISBN 10: 0816689660 / ISBN 13: 9780816689668
Published by Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2016
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Title: Downed by Friendly Fire: Black Girls, White ...

Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press

Publication Date: 2016

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

Edition: 1.

About this title


Most Americans would never willingly revisit their high school experiences; the nation\u2019s school systems reflect the broader society\u2019s hierarchical emphasis on race, class, and gender. While schools purport to provide equal opportunities for all students, this rarely happens in actuality—particularly for girls. In Downed by Friendly Fire, Signithia Fordham unmasks and examines female-centered bullying in schools, arguing that it is essential to unmask female aggression, bullying, and competition, all of which directly relate to the structural violence embedded in the racialized and gendered social order. For two and a half years, Fordham conducted field research at \u201cUnderground Railroad High School,\u201d a suburban high school in upstate New York. Through a series of composite student profiles, she examines the girls\u2019 relationships to academic achievement, social competition, and aggression toward one another. Fordham argues that girls academically \u201ccompete to lose,\u201d which only perpetuates their subordination through the misrecognition of their own competitive behaviors. She goes further to expand the meaning of violence to include what is seen as normal, including suffering, humiliation, and social and economic abuse. Using the concept \u201csymbolic violence,\u201d Fordham theorizes the psychological and social damage suffered especially by black girls in schools. The five narratives in Downed by Friendly Fire ultimately highlight the pain and suffering this violence produces as well as the ways in which it promotes inequality, exclusion, and marginalization among girls.


"Introducing a new interpretive framework with fresh and original analysis, Signithia Fordham is doing something really unique here. Her grounded, intersectional investigation of girls' peer-to-peer conflict is in constant interplay with an exploration of symbolic violence in girls' lives in different circumstances and on multiple levels, challenging our taken-for-granted notions not only about girls, but about the larger forces at play in our own lives."—Lyn Mikel Brown, author of Girlfighting: Betrayal and Rejection among Girls

"In a no-holds-barred account, Signithia Fordham critically interrogates the enculturated forms of symbolic violence whose misrecognition sustains gendered, racialized, and classed inequalities in schools and, ultimately, in the wider U.S. society. She has produced a sophisticated intersectional study of the interplay between stigma, privilege, and power."—Faye V. Harrison, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

"Downed by Friendly Fire will become a text that demands reconceptualization of what we come to know as violence in schools. It requires a closer look at the intersections of race and gender violence while holding one accountable in the ways that privilege and power are enacted systematically. A book that I recommend to teachers, administrators, and researchers alike."—Education Review

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