Ebony Rose

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education


College of Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies and Research

First Advisor

Stephen Haymes, PhD

Second Advisor

Enora Brown, PhD

Third Advisor

Horace Hall, PhD


This paper defines and unpacks Loic Wacquant’s concepts of Workfare and Prisonfare, coupled with a discussion of Tendayi Sithole’s concept of Deathscapes and his appropriation of Achille Mbembe’s Necropolitics as to why urban schools are poverty storage facilities for black youth. I address the centrality of the states social and penal policies in the reconfiguration of urban schools under a death politic guided by the deployment of both a neoliberal-paternalism and antiblack racist methodology. I argue, through the creation of workfare and prisonfare those urban schools eradicate black existence by conditioning low-income black students for low-wage labor or the prison. Next, this paper examines reproduction theory in education. Reproduction theory in education in regards economics is an outdated model, that rests on the assumption of a lowskill labor market that poor white students are being prepared for working class blue collar jobs. Previous reproduction in education theories are insufficient to explain how the schooling experiences of black youth in a punitive neoliberal post-industrialize world relate to the production of social, political and economic inequality. As urban schools are producing criminal subjects in surplus not workers Lastly, I discuss the limitations and weaknesses of fighting for racial equality and radical transformation in our anti-black capitalist society. A Racial Realist framework advocated by Derrick Bell will ground my discussion on the possibilities for black youth resistance.

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