Alongside Other Harmonies: Art as a Means of Growth, Advocacy, and Justice for Philadelphia Youth
Haverford College. Department of Anthropology
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Dark Archive until 2028-01-01, afterwards Open Access
Violence has a profound but generally well-understood impact on bodies and communities. Less understood, however, are ways in which these lasting impacts and their systemic roots can be addressed. This thesis attends to this discrepancy through an examination of the role that collaborative community arts programs play in disrupting cycles of interpersonal and structural violence. This examination is performed through an analysis of ethnographic research which includes both participant-observation within and interviews with students, staff, and community partners of a Philadelphia musical arts program. This arts program, which I call Ridge Avenue Music Project, serves incarcerated and otherwise system-entrenched youth. This analysis reveals that entrainment (modulation to external circumstances) to program values of trust, openness, safety, and student autonomy can disrupt the restricted habitus of these youth on an individual and community level. I characterize this habitus as “Jupiter habitus”, which describes the lived embodiment of violence endured by youth held within modern day systems that emphasize policing and surveillance whilst enacting community disinvestment. The disruption of Jupiter habitus and the facilitation of social justice advocacy within musical training allowed youth to create affective and systemic alterations oriented towards the building of a more just collective reality.