Relationships and rap: using ecomaps to explore the stories of youth who rap
Crawford, Marcus R.
Grant, Natalie S.
Crews, Douglas A.
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Crawford, Marcus R.; Grant, Natalie S.; Crews, Douglas A. 2016. Relationships and rap: using ecomaps to explore the stories of youth who rap. British Journal of Social Work, v. 46:no. 1:pp 239-256
At-risk youth come from diverse backgrounds and may be vulnerable as they struggle between acceptance and identity development during the transition between childhood and adulthood. As youth seek to form their own identities and find a place for themselves within their world, many turn to music as a foundation of this community and identity formation. This qualitative study seeks to determine how young rappers use the development and creation of rap to create community and form meaningful connections. Through ecological analysis, the study demonstrates how young people use rap music to form relationships, tell stories about their lives and build relationships founded on trust. The participants included five males aged eighteen to twenty-two. Ecomaps were created for each participant, resulting in a graphic that identifies important groups and individuals in their lives and the communication patterns between them. This study revealed that participants have small inner circles that they relate to more as family than their biological families. Findings present an opportunity to learn about the inner workings of young people who are involved in rap music as an activity with peers and an outlet for processing issues of daily life. By using the ecosystems theory as the foundation of the study, the researcher is able to create a deeper understanding of the meaning of music in the lives of youth and how social workers may be able to use this in their practice with at-risk youth.
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