"Ethnographizing" service-learning

"Ethnographizing" service-learning

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"Ethnographizing" service-learning creating a politically engaged anthropology
Hathaway, Wendy Ann
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[Tampa, Fla.]
University of South Florida
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Dissertations, Academic -- Applied Anthropology -- Masters -- USF ( lcsh )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: Service-Learning is a popular teaching method that is increasingly being adopted by institutions of higher learning throughout the nation and is enthusiastically promoted as a progressive method for mediating the alleged decline in civic responsibility and ameliorating subsequent social ills. Service-learning courses are also seen as an answer to growing student disinterest by connecting students to real world experiences while simultaneously providing much needed community support in the face of receding social services in this Post-Welfare moment (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a). Anthropological insights, born out of a liberal humanistic tradition, can be employed to critically examine this popular educational and social project. Critical anthropology theories and methods help articulate disparity between the promises of service-learning and the realities of implementation.Recent calls from within the discipline challenge anthropologists to do more than simply documenting experiences of poverty and violence, but to become politically engaged by exposing how global and state processes shape and create those realities in the local realm (Hyatt and Lyon-Callo 2003). My internship as a volunteer tutor at a local recreation center provided a unique vantage for critically examining service-learning while simultaneously working to establish a politically engaged anthropology project. Ethnographizing (Lyon-Callo and Hyatt 2003:177) service-learning reveals hidden contradictions that act as substantial barriers to the goals of the generally agreeable and beneficial service-learning program. Expressing an explicitly politically engaged service-learning agenda works to ameliorate these dangers for the creation of a potentially powerful vehicle for social change.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2005.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 99 pages.
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by Wendy Ann Hathaway.

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"Ethnographizing" service-learning
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by Wendy Ann Hathaway.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2005.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 99 pages.
ABSTRACT: Service-Learning is a popular teaching method that is increasingly being adopted by institutions of higher learning throughout the nation and is enthusiastically promoted as a progressive method for mediating the alleged decline in civic responsibility and ameliorating subsequent social ills. Service-learning courses are also seen as an answer to growing student disinterest by connecting students to real world experiences while simultaneously providing much needed community support in the face of receding social services in this Post-Welfare moment (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a). Anthropological insights, born out of a liberal humanistic tradition, can be employed to critically examine this popular educational and social project. Critical anthropology theories and methods help articulate disparity between the promises of service-learning and the realities of implementation.Recent calls from within the discipline challenge anthropologists to do more than simply documenting experiences of poverty and violence, but to become politically engaged by exposing how global and state processes shape and create those realities in the local realm (Hyatt and Lyon-Callo 2003). My internship as a volunteer tutor at a local recreation center provided a unique vantage for critically examining service-learning while simultaneously working to establish a politically engaged anthropology project. Ethnographizing (Lyon-Callo and Hyatt 2003:177) service-learning reveals hidden contradictions that act as substantial barriers to the goals of the generally agreeable and beneficial service-learning program. Expressing an explicitly politically engaged service-learning agenda works to ameliorate these dangers for the creation of a potentially powerful vehicle for social change.
Adviser: Susan Greenbaum.
Dissertations, Academic
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t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
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u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?e14.1373


Ethnographizing Service-Learning: Creat ing Politically Engaged Anthropology by Wendy Ann Hathaway A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement s for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Susan Greenbaum, Ph.D. Cheryl Rodriguez, Ph.D. Alvin Wolfe, Ph.D. Date of Approval: November 18, 2005 Keywords: neoliberalism, volunteeris m, community, youth, tutoring Copyright 2005, Wendy Ann Hathaway


Dedication I dedicate this thesis to the memori es of James Haag, Ronald Hathaway, Hank Marr, Audrey Marr, and Harold Wil liam Hathaway. Their love, support, and guidance filled me with the courage, commitment, and faith necessary to complete this task. You are dearly missed. It is also dedicated to my family and fr iends. At times I was filled with selfdoubt and frustration, but you were a lways there with a shoulder, a hug, a beer, or a kind word. I would not have succ eeded without the love and friendship you have showed me over the past six years. I am so grateful to have you in my life and know that I can count on you for y our continued support. Peace and Love.


Acknowledgements This thesis is the result of a long combined effort on the part of many. I have to give due credit to Wesley Maiy o, staff and youth of the George A. Bartholomew North Tampa Recreation Center, who so graciously accepted my presence and tolerated my questions. I hav e no choice but to believe them when they say they appreciate and benefited from our partnership, for in absence of any tangible outcomes, a collaborative di alogue of possibilitie s emerged from our endeavors. Likewise, Sulphur Springs re sidents and friends provided significant opportunities for learning and friendship. It is a relationship that I honor and respect. I hold the Department of An thropology at the Universi ty of South Florida in high regard for the training, preparati on, and camaraderie I received as a graduate student. Through course work, gr aduate assistantships, research projects, teaching assignments, and persona l relationships I solidified my identity as an applied anthropologist. Networ ks and connections extended beyond the classroom and I am fortunate to have m ade lasting and supportive associations. Luckily for me, I fell into the good grac es of two extraordinarily talented and committed women. Janna Jones, professor of Communications, and Robin Jones, Director of the College of Arts and Science Community Initiative, offered exceptional opportunities, unwavering support, and lasting friendship. These


kindred souls reminded me of my strength when I thought I had none. I am very thankful to have you as mentors and friends. I owe sincere appreciation for my committee members, Susan Greenbaum, Cheryl Rodriguez, and Alvi n Wolfe, all who have had undying patience and supportive comments for th is manuscript. There were many moments when I thought this day would nev er come. Thank you for having faith in my work and in me. Most especially, I recognize the in tellectual stimulation and activist affirmation afforded me by my comrades in the Tampa Neighborhood Mobility Study. We have meet monthly for the past four years and there are no words that can fully describe the impact the experience has had on me, professionally and personally. I extend deep and heartfelt thanks to Susan Greenbaum, Cheryl Rodriguez, Beverly Ward, Shari Feldman and Ashley Spalding. Our unwavering commitment to social justice has made the journey remarkable. But most of all, I would not have had the confidence to endure graduate school without the support of my family. My parent s continue their love and encourage me as I travel my path, my des tination not yet known. Brian, my younger brother, has always been there to push me alongreminding me to work hard but to have fun too. Michae l, Cassidy, and Julian, you have shared with me a wondrous and joyful side of life unparalleled by any other. I hope you think all of those hours at the computer and at work hav e been worth it and that I have contributed, in some way, to making our world a better place.


i Table of Contents Abstract ii Chapter 1: Introduction 1 The Problem 3 Chapter 2: Literature Review 6 What is Service-Learning? 6 History of Service-Learning in Higher Education 9 Service-Learning and Neoliberalism 17 Poverty and Individualism 17 Volunteerism 20 Applied Anthropology and Service-Learning 22 Critical Anthropology and Service-Learning 25 Service-Learning Ethics or t he Rules of Engagement 30 Chapter 3: Methods 32 Chapter 4: Context 38 Translating Service-Learning into Engaged Ethnography 39 The Community of Sulphur Springs 40 Service-Learning as Ethnography 45 Fall 2000 45 Spring 2001 47 Building an Engaged Service-Learning Model 55 Summer 2001 57 Fall 2001 59 Spring 2002 60 Building Bridges to the University: University-Community Engagement 65 Chapter 5: Discussion 70 Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendations 75 References 83


ii Ethnographizing Service-Learning: Creat ing Politically Engaged Anthropology Wendy Ann Hathaway ABSTRACT Service-Learning is a popular teaching method that is increasingly being adopted by institutions of higher l earning throughout the nation and is enthusiastically promoted as a progressive method for mediating the alleged decline in civic responsibility and ameliorati ng subsequent social ills. Servicelearning courses are also seen as an ans wer to growing student disinterest by connecting students to real world exper iences while simu ltaneously providing much needed community support in the face of receding social services in this Post-Welfare moment (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a). Anthropological insights, born out of a liberal humanistic tradition, can be employed to critically examine this popul ar educational and social project. Critical anthropology theories and methods help articulate disparity between the promises of service-learni ng and the realities of implementation. Recent calls from within the discipli ne challenge anthropologists to do more than simply documenting experiences of poverty and violence, but to become politically engaged by exposing how global and st ate processes shape and create those realities in the local realm (Hyatt and Lyon-Callo 2003).


iii My internship as a volunteer tutor at a local recreation center provided a unique vantage for critically examinin g service-learning while simultaneously working to establish a politically engaged anthropology project. Ethnographizing (Lyon-Callo and Hyatt 2003:177) service-le arning reveals hidden contradictions that act as substantial barriers to the goals of the generally agreeable and beneficial service-learning program. Expres sing an explicitly politically engaged service-learning agenda works to ameliora te these dangers for the creation of a potentially powerful vehicle for social change.


1 Chapter 1: Introduction I learned that my role as a stude nt at the Univer sity of South Florida, is not to sit through a class and take a few notes on things, and then have a test on them, but it is to go out in the community and work with people on things and teac h them new things and learn from what they do. They taught us while we taught them. Comments by servicelearning students, Spring 2002 Imagine the typical urban university. Thousands of students matriculating in courses in a range of topics; wo rking towards degrees that will provide knowledge and experience that will some day lead to lucrative careers or socially meaningful endeavors. Adjacent to campus are low-income and declining neighborhoods with residents who have never once stepped foot on the school grounds. The university students hurry by with little thought and much avoidance of these fear-inducing ghettos. There is little connec tion made between what is taught in the classroom to the lived experi ences just beyond the classroom walls. Student disinterest and dissatisfacti on with traditional expert based education is growing. Likewise, surr ounding communities are demanding more from their university neighbors. To combat the perceived irrelevancy and disconnection, faculty are electing to offer courses that utilize a new and increasingly popular teaching methodservic e-learning. Service-learning is a


2 course option that engages students in projects that help them learn by doing in conjunction with traditional classroom techniques. Service-learning students develop enhanced civic responsibilities and connections to civil society through their participation in hands-on community service. This relationship provides communities with much needed and free mentorship, support, and resources. A report detailing student service estimates t he value of student volunteer efforts in 2004 at over $4 billion dollars (Salgado 2005). Institutions of higher learning, especially land grant and urban universities, have historically worked towards devel oping innovative and effective community engagement initiatives (Kellogg Foundation 2005). Service-learning appears to be the newest trend for addressing the varied requests and critiques that call for increased social responsibilities on t he part of higher education. While the literature abounds with the virtues and benefi ts of service-learning programs, those dedicated to collaborative and effe ctive university-community partnerships and those with an interest in community development theories need not be too hasty in subscribing to this supposed cur e-all strategy. As educators, social scientists, and concerned citizens we must critically examine the service-learning project. We must ask questions that reveal possible hidden agendas and unintended consequences. Why, consider ing all of the available universitycommunity engagement possibilities, has se rvice-learning become the leading model? What does the service-learning pr oject achieve and what does it not? Can service-learning deliver on all of its promises? If not, how can we strengthen


3 the agenda so that service-learning can ac hieve its goal of bridging the town and gown divide? The Problem Service learning is a recent strategy in a long line of social interventions. Service-learning was developed not onl y to supplement t he student experience but to address and alleviate conditions of poverty in American communities. There have been many attempts and schools of thought dedicated to this very issue. Social science, born out of the liberal idea that scientific investigation can provide answers and solutions to human pr oblems, often focuses on poverty, or better, what Alice OConnor calls the poverty problem (O'Connor 2001:1). Poverty is seen as a societal problem, not only for the individual discomforts that it inflicts but also for the moral bankruptcy and unpleasing aesthetics unleashed on society. Various social science disciplines incorporate schools of thought dedicated to describing, explaining, and solv ing issues related to poverty and its unfortunate effects on Amer ican society. Politicians and the public have vacillated between various explanator y theories and poverty solutions for centuries. These hypotheses and assump tions often form the basis for policies and programs (Katz 1990; Katz 1996; O' Connor 2001). Anthropology is one such discipline with academicians and practitioners devoted to poverty studies. Recently, there has been a call for anthropologists to do more than describe conditions of poverty, but to have a re sponsibility to engage politically with the


4 issue of rising inequalities and oppre ssion (Hyatt and Lyon-Callo 2003:138). But how exactly does an anthropologist become engaged? This question is in need of an answer for, despite the continued and dedicated desire to address inequities, poverty still exists and di sparities continue to rise. Social critics have identified civic apathy as an additional threat to American middle class values and cust oms. According to David Lisman, America need[s] to become a more civil society, for we are suffering from a civic malaise (Lisman 1998:1). In the now famous and well known study on social capital, Bowling Alone sociologist Robert Putnam states, the vibrancy of American civil society has notably declined over the past several decades (1995:65) citing declines in voter turn out; fewer Americans attending public meetings; increased distrust of the polic e, government, and politics; and drops in organization membership like the PTA as evidence (65-68). Lisman cites the weakening of the inst itution of the family as evidenced by the reporting of increased child abuse and neglect, a high divo rce rate, and fathers avoiding child support payments as additional verificati on of the civic crisis (1998:2). Apparently this attitude is a growing and futu re crisis since youths, in particular, are showing a growing dissatisfacti on and disengagement (W ade 1997:2). Continued and increasing poverty, dwindl ing civic participation, and other social ills have been attributed to under-education and societal disconnection (Kenny and Gallagher 2002). Therefore it is not surprising that engaged education is being held up as the mec hanism for lifting individuals out of impoverished and disconnected lives. Service-learning, with its promises of


5 increased learning, civic participation, and poverty alleviation, is being adopted in an increasing number of our nations higher educational institutions. Proponents of service-learning promise enhanced st udent learning through the exposure of real world experiences gained through service. This process not only exposes students to the rudiments of book-based ac ademics but also the responsibilities of good citizenship and thereby count eracts the growing malaise. The abundant service-learning literature asserts beneficial outcomes for students and society. However, caveats do exist. As an applied anthropology graduate student at the University of Sout h Florida, over t he past four years I have participated in service-learni ng courses; developed and taught two undergraduate service-learning course s based on my applied anthropology internship; obtained funding to implement a summer service-learning program at a local neighborhood recreation cent er; and have served on university engagement and service-learning committees. In analyzing this experience, I have concluded that, in spite of seve ral benefits, ther e are underlying contradictions within servic e-learning and the neoliberal ideologies that promote this type of course design as a panacea for the social inequities of our society. In this thesis, I examine these experienc es and events that have shaped my current understanding of this popular pr ogram. It is my hope that these insights help to build a politically engaged service-learning agenda that supports the social change and social justice movements while contributing to t he development of politically engaged anthropology.


6 Chapter 2: Literature Review What is Service-Learning? Service-Learning is an approach to pedagogy that has enjoyed large successes, as is evidenced by the incr easing number of universities and colleges that offer service-learning courses. According to Campus Compact, a national coalition of universities and colleges that support the civic missions of higher education, there are over 950 higher education instit utions offering servicelearning curriculum options with more adding the popular option annually (Compact 2005) Service-learning is a relatively a new idea, although experimental educators trace it back to the ear ly 1970s (Wade 1997: 25). Kenny and Gallagher report that t he term was first used in 1967 in reference to an internship program that was sponsored by the Southern R egional Education Board and through which co llege students gained academic credit/or federally funded financial remuneration for work on community projects (Sigmon 1979). There are a number of service-learning definitions, each displaying nuances in word choice and varying degrees of emphasis; however, they all claim that service in conjunction with classroom activi ties results in benefits to students and communities. The National ServiceLearning Clearinghouse defines servicelearning as a teaching and learning st rategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning


7 experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (National Service Learning Cleari nghouse 2005). Another commonly used servicelearning definition is from the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), which states that service-learning means a: method under which students lear n and develop through thoughtfully organized service that: is conducted in and meets the needs of a community and is coordinated with an instituti on of higher education, and with the community; helps foster civic responsibility; is integrated into and enhances t he academic curriculum of the students enrolled; and includes st ructured time for students to reflect on the service experi ence. (Campus Compact 2005) According to Wade quality service-lear ning needs to contain six essential components: preparation, collaboration, service, curriculum integration, reflection, and celebration (1997). S he explains, in an idealized version, service-learning provides students with a means for self-development as well as the development of civic attitudes such as concern, care for others, tolerance, respect, compassion, fairness, and integrit y (Wade 1997:15). Jacoby, a leader in the development of and research on Serv ice-Learning, provides this definition, Service-learning is a form of experientia l education in whic h students engage in activities that address human and co mmunity needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development. Reflection and reciprocity ar e key concepts of service-learning (Jacoby 1996:5). Building or creating civic responsib ility is a common theme that runs through all service-learning definitions and effo rts. Like service-learning, there is no one single accepted definition for ci vic responsibility. The essence behind


8 these calls for civic responsibility is the need for an American citizenry that addresses social problems and questions through an informed, committed and positive manner (Constitutional Rights Foundati on 2000). As part of this effort to instill individuals with civic responsibility, moral and religious reasoning, appropriate character traits, service-learni ng is being touted as a way to alleviate alleged American apathy regarding civic engagement (Kenny and Gallagher 2002). In line with the need for good personal characteristics, service-learning instills the value of volunteerism wh ile teaching valuable skills needed in the workplace (Beck 2001; Lisman 1998). Service-learning can be utilized in almost any discipline and can incorporate a variety of service goals and entities. Campus Compact and the National Service Learning Clearinghouse main tain lengthy lists of discipline specific syllabi in conjunction with numerous and varied types of community partners, agencies, and instit utions. In regards to service-learning, community can refer to local neighborhoods, the state, the nation, and the global community (Jacoby 2003:4). Service-lear ning can provide a relatively low-risk process for establishing university-co mmunity partnerships (Jacoby 2003; Wade 1997). It is through these university-co mmunity partnerships that students gain critical thinking and reflection skills and where communities gain much needed support (Jacoby 2003; Lisman 1998; Wade 1997). The widespread implementation of serv ice-learning has led to a range of curriculum models. Some projects ar e individually based and loosely connected to classroom materials. Other programs are highly st ructured service projects


9 carried out by teams or an entire class and are str ongly linked to academic subjects. Various and numerous re sources abound providing frameworks, agendas, syllabi, and project ideas for professors interested in delving into the service-learning arena. Despite the benefits of an extensive and flexible collection of resources, the array leads to inconsistency in the definition and implementation of service-learninglead ing to problems in the evaluation and assessment service-learning programs. History of Service-Lear ning in Higher Education -Schools were (and still are) the sole institution available to society as a whole to train youth in t he theory and practice of democratic citizenship (Wade 1997:4). -Service-learning has encouraged co lleges and universities of all types to reexamine and bolster t heir missions to prepare students to become civically engaged citizens (Jacoby 2003:2). Service Learning has come to be vi ewed as the principal answer to for the decades-long criticism levied against uni versities by government, the private sector and local communities that they remain isolated in their ivory towers stuck in abstractions and separated from the real world and unable or unwilling to tackle real world problems (Beck 2001: 3). Although there were periods when academics and research were artificially removed from societys needs, recent critiques of the purposes for higher education and backlashes to university administrations over zealous interest s in efficiency and labor force production


10 have forced higher education to answer the question, higher education for what? The answer is for the creat ion of a better citizen and thus a better society. The creation of civic-minded students has historically been associated with higher education institutions. Lisman cont extualizes the devel opment of servicelearning within the discussion of the soc ial responsibilities of higher education commenting that higher education has an ethical and social responsibility to utilize its resources to help strengthen the local democratic process in the service of improving community life (1998:149). The Morrill Act of 1862 marks a signific ant beginning point, an investment of public resources for which the public expected a return on their investment. The Morrill Act provided federal land for the creation of stat e universities and community colleges (Eyler and Giles 1999:12-13). Kenny & Gallagher also argue that the Morrill Act established a focus on excellence in scholarship to the practical needs of the community, and that the second Morrill Act of 1887 created block land-grant universities wit h their even greater focus on tying together learning, scholarship and service (2002:16). When discussing the roots and dev elopment of service-learning pedagogy, many cite the settlement house mo vement of the Progressive Era as a solid foundation from which experient ial learningservice-learningdeveloped (Kenny and Gallagher 2002:16; Stevens 2003:26). The Settlement House movement and other progressi ve era programs were predicated on the idea that academics and education could provide e xpert-driven models of changethat


11 improve the quality of life for the urban poor and immigrant (Harkavy 1996:8). The University of Chicagos Hull House, founded by Jane Addams in 1889, is a model example of a university-communi ty partnership where students provided services to needy communities (Lisman 1998:151). Judith Trolander outlines the developm ent and purposes of the settlement house movement and its direct connection to addressing the needs of the lowerincome neighborhoods in which they are lo cated (Trolander 1987:1). Like service-learning agendas, the social settlement house movement served these communities through direct services and a focus on social change agendas. Another similarity to service-learning is the idea of having college students perform the services and field-work of the settlement house. Traditionally, college graduate students would work and live in the settlement house mirroring anthropologys participant-obser vation and fieldwork methodologies. Trolander points to the growing reliance on community volunteers for the daily operations and services prov ided by the settlement houses when professionalism of social work began to take hold by the 1950s (1987:35-38). The ideal settlement house resident workers included people fr om a variety of professions and backgrounds (35). The underlying sentiment here is that middle and upper-class, educated and professiona l people would bring with them a moral character that would pass down from them to the settlement house participantsmuch like the theory behind planned development of mixed-income neighborhoods (Popkin, et al. 2000; R ubinowitz and Rosenbaum 2000). This theory of diffused social capital also has a place in service-learning, where it is


12 believed that well-to-do college st udents will impart benef its on impoverished communities merely through their presenc e in the neighborhood. The distinction here is based on the inherent value of vol unteer work versus that of a paid professional who may have less-philant hropic motives (Wilson 2000). Furthermore, the act of freely giving of ones time renders a perception that the individual possess increased worth and exce ptional deservingness of their social status and prosperity. Trolander does not deal with race as a primary concern. However, LaschQuinn (1993) devotes her entir e book to the issue of race in the settlement house movement and beyond. The settlement house movement was initially aimed at assisting the white, European immigrant s learn to assimilate and develop appropriate individual and cultural habits It was only when black migrants arrived from the south during the Great Migration, the years between World War I-II, that the settlement house movement began to deal with the so-called black problem (11). How individual se ttlement houses handled the shifting demographics varied. Some re located their services, following their clients into new neighborhoods; others dissolved the sett lement rather than serve the new black neighbors. Very few changed their programs or services directly to assist the new population and their new needs thereby creating a separate group of black settlements with their own bl ack volunteers (Stevens 2003). While the settlement house movement has much to be commended, it was fraught with issues of race, gender, and politicsissues that still pervade the current service-learning movement. The principals tended to locate the causes


13 of poverty and social ills in individ ual behavioral deficiencies that could be corrected by mentoring and tutoring. They consequently failed to look at systemic and structural causes for the problem s they were trying to address. This myopic belief affected the settlement house mo vement and is also problematic in the service learning movement. Becaus e race does matter Green provides a critical examination of race and class in the service-learning movement for the explicit purpose of preventing servic e-learning from rep licating the power imbalances and economic injustices that create the need for service-learning in the first place (2001:18). Her discussion hi ghlights the fact that the majority of service-learning courses involve white middle-class students performing service for poor people of color. This social scenar io has explicit implications for service and limits the work that can be accomplishe d at the service-learning site (25). The idea of national service through government-sponsored programs traces to 1910, when William James, another American philosopher, envisioned nonmilitary national service in his essa y, The Moral Equivalent of War (Wade 1997:24). James laid a philosophical foundation for government sponsored national service that has c ontinued through to current pr esidential initiatives. During the depression of the 1930s, Roos evelts Civilian Conservations Corps provided service opportunities for well over 3 million unemployed young men by the time the program ended in 1942 (Beck 2001:4; Wade 1997:24). The activities and services provided were ai med towards the restoration of national parks in exchange for small, but much needed wage. Although providing


14 benefits to public property and increased employment for youth, these projects were not really aimed at pedagogy or moral tutelage. During WWI and right after, inst itutions of higher education began dropping their social missions and focu s more on scientific research and the production of technology. Fortunately, t he social component did not disappear completely. John Dewey, a philosopher and pioneer in American education at the University of Chicago, theoriz ed and promoted the connection between higher education and democracy (Lutz and Merz 1992:23; Wade 1997:25). According to Lutz and Merz, Dewey believe d that experience meant more than learning a trade, and education meant more than being minimally prepared to enter the workforce(23). He was r eportedly concerned that young people were becoming disconnected from their communities. Some writers place service-learni ng roots more squarely in the 1960s when many students became involved in so cial movements, most notably, the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. Thes e activities and causes provided a political context for professors and others to engage their students in activities and services aimed at ending and amelio rating segregation (Hyatt 2001b:8). Hyatt explains that the 1944 GI Bill had a tremendous impact on the demographics of college and university campuses by allowi ng, for the first time, an achievable pathway into college for working class menmany of them ethnic minorities. Lutz & Me rz also cite the GI Bill as a root cause of the growth and development of curricula that was more practical and more studentoriented (1992:26). The GI Bill students ope ned the door for future increases in


15 minorities and women on college campuses, and these new undergraduate populations called for the creation of new classes, theories and disciplines in order to make the undergraduate ex perience relevant (Hyatt 2001b:9). President John F. Kennedy establ ished the Peace Corps in 1961 to address the needs of underdeveloped countries with the specific purpose that one day the service dedicated to foreign countries would be brought home to serve Americas needy communities (Wade 1997). Lyndon B. Johnsons War on Poverty brought it home through the Vo lunteers in Service to America, or VISTA (Beck 2001; Wade 1997). Beginning in 1964, a vast majority of the participants were college students who re ceived little pay but enjoyed the ultimate reward which comes to those who serve their fellow man (Friends of VISTA 2005). The Freedom Summer of 1964 also spawned a volunteer movement of mostly whit e college students who traveled to Mississippi to help African-Americans win the right to vote (Hyatt 2001b). Hyatt places the development of this type of politically engaged university campus and other liberal policies surrounding the War on Poverty within the context of a changing university undergraduate population spu rred on by the GI Bill (8-9). A more recent Republican initiative by President George H. Bush established the Office of National Service in the White House in 1989 Points of Light Foundation. In 1990 Congre ss passed the National and Community Service Act that created t he Corporation for National and Community Service, providing funds, training, and technical a ssistance to states and communities to develop and expand service opportunities for all ages (Wade 1997:24-25).


16 Continuing the support for enhanced servic e-learning opportunities, President Clinton and Congress passed the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, thereby establishing t he Americorps, which provi des college age students with volunteer opportunities in exchange for postservice educational benefits (Wade 1997:25) and the ability to expand thei r sense of community so that they look first to themselves and to one another to improve their lives (Corporation for National & Community Service 2005). The movement to supplement domestic poverty programs with community service first emerged in response to the Reagan Administrations cutbacks in social services (Countryman and Sullivan 1993). George W. Bu sh has continued this emphasis on volunteerism as a substitute for any kind of publicly supported programs. In his 2002 Stat e of the Union address, Pr esident Bush called on all Americans to donate at least two years, cumulatively over their life time, of service to their community and subseque ntly established the USA Freedom Corps to foster a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility (The White House 2002). Bushs hard-right vari ant of the neoliberal project is unprecedented in ushering in continued neoliberal reforms--dismantling the existing social welfare system by increasing welf are work and volunteer requirements while simultaneously reducing benefits (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a:8). However, the very programs poi sed to support the call for responsible volunteerism like Americorps and Learn and Serve America have netted budgets cuts while faith-based initiatives receive significant gainsleaving a significant gap in the social welfare programs.


17 Service-Learning and Neoliberalism Throughout the ever-growing service-learning literature, it is clear that the service-learning movement was develop ed in response to a perceived loss of attachment by young people to their comm unities. Enos and Morton write that service-learning is a response to a conti nuing perception that th e social fabric is unraveling and that the lived experience of individual person has become more privatized, compartmentalized, and fragmented over time (2003:21). This lack of connectedness is also associated with societal problems in general, and poverty in particular. There are numer ous scholars who develop this point at length (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a; Maskovsky 2001; Maskovsky and Kingfisher 2001). Here it is sufficient to sketch briefly some of the more defining elements of the current environment, in wh ich causes of and solutions to poverty and civic apathy are linked. Poverty and individualism. Over the past three decades, the gap between the rich and poor has grown tr emendously. Economic restructuring, weakening of labor unions, and privatization have re sulted in decreased wages and benefits for workers while concentrati ng tremendous wealth in the hands of increasingly few corporate stak eholders. This polarization is the direct result of government policies that favor the market at the expense of social spending. The belief that a free and unfettered ma rket is the most efficient means for achieving economic growth and guarant eeing social welfare (Goode and


18 Maskovsky 2001a:7) is called neo-liberalism It is a new liberalism since it builds on the work of earlier Liberalism discussed by Adam Smith and is defined as the re-embrace of cla ssic liberalisms faith in the economic, social, and moral attributes of unhindered competition and unregulated markets the governments role is to ensure the existence of the marketnot social welfare (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a:8). Compet ition among firms, and among individuals, is regarded as positive. Publ ic support of indigents is viewed as nurturing dependency. This neo-liberal philosophy is reflec ted in the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), or what has come to be known as Welfare Reform. Ending Aid to Fam ilies with Dependent Children (AFDC), PRWORA set harsh time limits on financial assistance and added work, education, or volunteer requirements in order to receive benef its. The underlying goal of the reform was the installati on of the markets value and the forced exchange of labor. Assistance and social we lfare benefits are no longer seen as entitlements of American citizenship. They are provided only to deserving citizens who conduct themselves morally by engaging in the market (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a; Hyatt 2001a; Maskovsky and Kingfisher 2001). The explanatory ideology driving these neo-liberal social reforms is the belief, made colloquial by Charles Mu rray and others, that the states old citizenship-based system of social s upport was actually the source of dependency, indolence, depravity, and poverty and not the intended provisional respite. In his book, Losing Ground Murray aims to illustrate how the social


19 programs since the Great Society made it p rofitable for the poor to behave in the short term in ways that were destructive in the long term and to subsidize [their] irretrievable mistakes ( 1994:9). This theory of pov erty places the blame squarely on the shoulders of poor indi viduals themselveson their behaviors, choices, and attitudeswhile they we re trapped by the system. Murrays solution was to derive a merit-based and short-term social support system requiring the exchange of labor, be it through employm ent or volunteering that not only kept poor people from getting someth ing for nothing, but also turned idle hands into busy hands and therefore woul d supposedly reduce inclinations towards drug use, criminal activity, and other prohibited behaviors. Current discussions regarding the persi stence of poverty in a land of plenty focus on individual behaviors, attitudes, and morals as the cause (or evasion) of personal financial and moral suffering. In this scenario, civic apathy is seen as an unproductive attitude that causes poverty and societal dissolution. Across a broad spectrum, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, social scientists and politicians alike endorse social policies based on this idea that we need to alter the personal and behavioral tr aits of the poor. For example, women who participate in t he new welfare to work programs are required to attend work training sessions that not only teach employment skills, but also include dress for success sessi ons that teach wo men how to dress appropriately for their employment. Other government-s ponsored training tied to benefit receivership includes parenting cl asses, hygiene, credit and consumer courses, and marriage counseling.


20 However, in his examination of welfar e reform in Florida, Wolfe stresses the need to consider this view of rugged individualism and self-reliance not as natural universal conditions of human existence but as socially constructed with roots in our own cultural experience (2000:4). Wolfe and ot her authors of a special issue on Welfare Reform argue that as a society, we may have reached the maximum limit of individualistic self-reliance that can be endured and still have viable communities and calls for ant hropologists working directly within institutions of welfare reform to document experiences that reveal poverty as, not so much a moral issue as it is a structural issue (Wolfe 2000:4). Volunteerism. In conjunction to these dependency and behavioral theories of poverty, there is a re newed emphasis on the importance of volunteerism as a corollary of responsible citizenship for all Americans (Hyatt 2001a:204). Historians of poor relief in America (Katz 2001; Katz 1990; Katz 1996; O'Connor 2001) note that the Am erican system has always depended on and utilized volunteerism. When the gov ernment began to augment its role in poverty relief beginning in the Great Depr ession of the 1930s many were afraid that this government action would replac e civil society (Katz 1996). Faith in volunteerism as the best and most mora l answer to societal problems has returned today with a vengeance. In th is postwelfare moment (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a:9), the objective is downsizing government through privatization and the contraction of social safety nets. Rather than the debilitating and habit forming cash-benefits of the old system, a return to volunteerism and the mythical golden age of American civ il society will provide for the deserving


21 citizens that the market fails to encapsul ate. Various national policies enacted by Presidents George H. Bush, William Clinton and George W. Bush rely heavily on volunteer labor as the source of human services. Beck explains, the government and societal desire for an actively engaged citizenry that helps construct a civil society in which volunteerism and service can help support (at times replace) the state, its functions and ideologic al underpinnings is being funded and supported through a variety of programs (Beck 2001:3). George W. Bush called on American citizens to give two years, or 4000 hours over the course of their life times, of volunt eer labor. He links proper citizenship to eligibility for a dwindlin g array of government assistance. Those who do not volunteer or work should not benefit. Those who are affluent, can purchase services in the newly privatiz ed sector but should in turn, provide volunteer help to those who are less fo rtunate. Those less fortunate are also required to provide volunteer help to ot hers to prove that they are worthy. Through the requirement of volunteering as a condition of entitlement and citizenship, government can be seen as moving towards neoliberal forms that endeavor to govern more while spending less (Merry 2001:17). In her examination of the social consequences of the privatization of a food assistance program, Curtis (1997) illustrates how t he volunteer sector has been brought in as a shadow government, performing and se rving much like government, but it is based on volunteer labor (i.e. free) and is increasingly inflexible in dealing with the broad spectrum of need.


22 There is no doubt that volunteerism and the services provided through such efforts as service-learning are much needed and indeed hel pful. In fact, many agencies that provide essential services depend upon volunteer efforts to meet demand and often have a full-time paid volunteer coordinator. Servicelearning partnerships between universities and local agencies can be a source of educated, coordinated and reliable volu nteers supplying hours of service. Furthermore, service-learning students lear n to serve often continue the serve after the course is over and pursue careers in the service field (Astin, et al. 2000). However, if government policies c ontinue to provide market incentives to corporations and business at the expense of social welfare spending continue, there will never be enough volunteers to ma sk state failings (Curtis 1997; Curtis 1999). Applied Anthropology and Service-Learning American Anthropology is traced back to Franz Boas, considered the Father of American Anthropology. His legacy as a radical (Patterson 2001:45) and his critique of anthropologic al theories that tied race to cultural development set anthropology on a path of social criti que in the struggles for social justice and racial equality (2001:50). In an ear lier statement, Sol Tax argued we are willing to make things happen, or to hel p them along, or at least to be catalystsso we are anthropologists inte rested in anthropological problems, but we pursue them in a context of ac tion (1975:515). While there were commendable beginnings, anthropology is a discipline ripe with its own


23 contradictions and critiques. In response to its colonial history, a sensitivity to power and ethics developed in conjunction with a commitment by activist anthropologists to engage in struggles against racist oppression, gender inequality, class disparities, and internat ional patterns of expl oitation (Harrison 1997:2). Beginning in the 1960s anthropology wa s attacked for its collusion with and complicity in colonial and imperialist s dominations (Harrison 1997:1). Such critiques lead to calls, from within and outside of the discipline, for changes and the pursuit of a socially and ethically responsible research agenda. This discussion has continued to the present with more and more anthropologists returning to an activist agenda. N ancy Scheper-Hughes claims, that despite the post-modernist critiques that seek to place anthropol ogical observation as a hostile act that reduces our subjects to mere objects of our discriminating, incriminating, scientific gaz e, the answer is an ethnography that is personally engaged and politically committed (1995: 417-419). While there is some resistance to this sentiment, a growing num ber of anthropologists believe in an ethical responsibility to not only comment on the wrongs in our society but to do something about it (Hyatt and Lyon-Callo 2003; Rodriguez 1996; Sanday and Jannowitz 2001; Wolfe 2000). Beck cites the methodological connection between service learning and anthropologyour disciplines knowledge and concepts regarding field work can serve to enhance the learning that takes place when students engage in experience-based learning because we use field work to generate new


24 knowledge (2001:1). Anthropolog ys emphasis on community-engagement through ethnography, analyses of power structur es, and critical reflection make it an model framework for building service-learning experiences (Chin 2001). Ethnography, a core anthropological rese arch method, like service-learning, places the anthropologist/student in a sit uation where they can see how they are part of a common community of interest s from which a deeper understanding of the problem can arise (Sanday and Jannowit z 2001:66). Rodriquez claims that through such an approach, we can identif y the ambiguities that confound the precisely chiseled definitions of co mmunity; we can note the changing and heterogeneous nature of community, the i ngenuity of survival strategies, the voices of history, the sour ces of strengt h (2003:234). Some anthropologists, responding to the critiques of postmodernism and more recently of activists and activist scholars, are using their power and privilege not just to comment on the poor or to describe the conditions of poverty but to use ethnography and other anthropological methods for the creation of a more politically engaged poverty scholar ship (Maskovsky 2001:480). Lyon-Callo and Hyatt suggest an ethnography from below that makes visible the concrete programs and policies that have been used to create a single narrative in which poverty and inequality are made to seem th e natural and inev itable upshots of evolutionary processes, rather than t he conscious and planned outcomes of a very deliberate set of human interventi ons (2003:177-178). Anthropologically informed service learning can be an element in politically engaged pedagogical strategies by making privileged students more aware of the true causes of social


25 injustice while, at the same time, taking ac tion to alleviate some of it (Chin 2001; Fox 2002; Ward and Wolfe-W endel 2000; Wilson 2005). Authors who write about service l earning draw connections between anthropology and the goals of the servicelearning program. Direct linkage between students work in the fielda long-standing tradition in Anthropology and their readings and class discussions helps them put their practical experience into a reflective framewor k of theory and generalizable knowledge (Harkavy, et al. 2000). It could therefor e be said that anthropologists employing fieldwork and applied anthropological methodologies in their classrooms have been employing service-learning for decades However, because these activities have been traditionally discussed using disc ipline specific language the unique similarities between e ngaged ethnography and service-learning has received little attention. With service-learni ngs growing popularity among an ever increasing list of disciplines, anthropologis ts from a variety of sub-disciplines have adopted service-learning terminologie s and agendas to better communicate with students, educators, and community partners traditional anthropological methodologies and practices (Chin 2001; Fox 2002; Huber 2004; Hyatt 2001b; Rodriguez 2003; Sanday and Jannowitz 2001). Critical anthropology a nd service-learning. Without a critical framework beyond simply hel ping the poor, service-le arning is limited in its scope and inevitably serves neoliberal obj ectives. The underlying theory of service-learning is that those in co llege, presumably middle to upper class students who can afford to pay the increas ing costs of higher education, serve as


26 natural mentors and models fo r the poor. It is based in part on two assumptions. The first is that low-income people are poor due to deficient individual behaviors or personality traits; servic e-learning proposes that st ruggling communities only require free-labor service and opportunities to model productive and deserving behaviors to alleviate their inadequacies-not resources or investment. Second, it is believed that service-learning student s amass educational (and moral) benefits through their attempts to help and ser ve, regardless of the actual service outcome. Unless examined and critiqued, this framework leaves many holes that are often filled with racial and classist stereotypes, as well as gaps where unintended consequences frequently emerge. Due to the exorbitant cost of a co llege education, the majority (63%) of college students are white and middle class (Horn, et al. 2002). Class and race stereotypes and assumptions carried by th ese students are brought with them to the service-learning site. Green explains that, in argui ng for service-learning, we often gloss over the difficulties that students have performing service in places where they are uncomfortable, where poverty is not pretty or idealized (2001:18). Stereotypes portrayed throughout the m edia blame poverty, particularly that suffered by blacks, on individual charac ter traits. Images of the pregnant adolescent, the absent fat her, the dependent we lfare mother (as though welfare were a drug), and the violent, drug -dealing young male (Williams 1992:166) prevail as characters of Wilsons (1987) underclass. Unless introduced to the layered and complex politicaleconomic fo rces that underlie poverty, servicelearning students will misinter pret the racist structures embedded in institutions


27 that people of color encounter on a daily basis as personal failings (Green 2001:19). Such misunderstandi ngs perpetuate the current system where the only responsibility of the volunteer is an atte mpt to help an individual out of poverty, an obligation that requires no commitment to working fo r social change. When tutoring and mentoring do not alleviate suffering, failure can be placed squarely upon the shoulders of the unwilling and dependent, thus adding fuel to the flame and continued stereotyping. Blaming the victim (Ryan 1971), a polit ical socialization that attributes the causes of social problems to indivi duals inferior character traits (poor decision making skills, defunct morals, geneti c dysfunction, and insufficient social capital) or cultural environment (pov erty concentration, poor neighbors, and defunct role models) a possible outcome of service-learning projects according to Hollis (2004). Other scholars have ident ified similar effects in experiential learning agendas, claiming that experiential learning, if bad, can become a zoo phenomenon by reinforcing student stereotypes about the poor and disadvantaged (Hollis 2004). Such victim blaming is a striki ng contrast to the purported and stated claims regarding service learning. Hollis (2004) examines two service-learning case studies and concludes that while they may be intended to improve citizens civic re sponsibility, many of the volunteer experiences supported by federal progr ams like Learn and Serve are likely to have the effect of reinforcing soci etys victim-blaming tendency and to exacerbate our current tendency towards political intolerance (2004:595).


28 These findings indicate the importance of examining service-l earning critically and rejecting the idea that all volunteer se rvice is inherently good. As Hyatt discusses at length, relianc e on volunteer labor, be it servicelearning or other, cannot make up for the dismantling of the governments role in providing services for its citizens (Hyatt 2001a; Hyatt 2001b). The volunteer labor that service-learning activities provide an agency, institution, or community can indeed produce benefits to a variety of constituents. However, no amount of volunteer (free) labor can make up for the systematic assault on the nations safety net and social spending. Furt hermore, goodwill and good intentions only cannot overcome drastic budget shortfa lls, low employment wages, school overcrowding, inadequate hous ing, environmental degr adation and other sources of community immiseration that our count rys minority populations continually and increasingly are being subject. Reliance on service, volunteerism, and goodwill as strategies for poverty reduction only serves to mask inequalities, unfair market places, and other macro level forces. Theoretical foundations that situate causation in the individual are reminiscent of Oscar Lewis Culture of Poverty theory from the late 1960s. According to Barnes (2001), although largely debunked by anthropologists and other ethnographers (MacLeod 1995; Newman 1999; Stack 1974), moral disorder theories still persist in the urban poverty research literature (Anderson 1997; Massey and Denton 1993; Murray 1994; Ogbu 1978; Wilson 1987). While some of this literature does indeed rec ognize some structural and macro level forces it has essentially served to st ereotype and generalize the extreme social


29 ills to all poor and near-poor urban re sidents. Furthermore, because these studies have also focused mainly on a very small subset of t he African-American demographic, characterizations of the underclass have become associated with raceattributing poverty and social patho logies to all urban blacks, regardless of their actual circumstances and histor ies. Likewise, the pervasive use and reliance on certain poverty statistics, such as unemployment, teen pregnancy, single parent households, and crime rates, mask other potential indicators that would more fully explain the inne r-city experience (Barnes 2001:45). This literature has greatly influen ced social policy and has had a heavy hand in the development of the servicelearning agenda. The dismantling of basic social safety nets through Welfare Reform and concurrent expectation that mentorship in the form of service-learni ng will fill the need gap is no coincidence. Harsh penalties and extreme time limits, or what is now called Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) is accepted as appropriate if the people receiving the benefits are seen as lazy, immoral, irres ponsible, black single teen mothers who really just need to be taught how to want to not be impoverished. Servicelearning projects that bring white, aspiring, responsible middle class students in contact with the concentrated poor can t herefore mentor poor children on how to act, speak, dress, work, and consum e like the non-poor and will therefore essentially be better citizens (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a; Greenbaum 2002; Hyatt 2001b).


30 Service-Learning Ethics or the Rules of Engagement According to Keene and Colligan, ther e is no substantial service-learning literature on the ethics of entry or engagement outside of the Institutional Review Board at the university (2004:9) Since there is no standardized format or framework nor an evaluation methodology fo r service-learning it is oftentimes left up to the individual faculty member and agency supervisor to negotiate the terms of the servicelearning project. By design, service-learning relationships are relatively short-term and temporary. Projects are performed in locations of need and carried out with very little resources outside of volunteer l abor hours. The lack of verifiable and reliable service-learning forms leaves large room for choosing inadequate and inappropriate service-learning models. These conditions impose huge barriers that make it extremely difficult for service learning projects to meet the philanthropic goal of improving the lives of people in need. For example, in a review of volunteer tutoring programs, Wa sik (1998) points out that there exists few guidelines for choosing or implem enting volunteer tutoring programs and inconsistent conclusions regarding thei r effectiveness. An earlier review of tutoring programs indicated that the best student outcomes associated with volunteer tutoring programs resulted from one-on-one sessions with trained teacher or paraprofessi onal tutors (Wasik and Slavin 1993).


31 These findings reveal that student benefits as a result of volunteer tutoring are not automatic and it uncovers an addi tional hidden cont radiction in the service-learning program. Se rvice-learning activities are specifically aimed to provide a beneficial service to the recipients through an experiential activitynot necessarily skill-based (B ringle and Hatcher 1996). However there appears no clear evidence that the stat ed benefits actually result from the service-learning activities. Abundant literature exists on the benefits of servicelearning (Bringle and Hatcher 1996; Eyler, et al. 1997; Rockwe ll 2001; Roschelle, et al. 2000), but the returnsenhanced ci tizenship skills, improved academic performance, optimistic beliefs in volunteering, developed commitments to social justice, etcare largely enjoyed by the service-learning student, not the stated object of the servic ethe community. Service-learning is a popular teaching and social service strategy that is likely to enjoy increasing support and adheren ts. However, as people interested in educating, serving, and supporting our students and communities we have to ask, What is service-learning really? Who is service-learning for and who not? What agendas are furthered by the serv ice-learning project? How can we enhance service-learning to actually m eet its stated goals? These questions and others can be answered with critical analysis rather than blind adherence to and faith in the altruistic and state supported third way.


32 Chapter 3: Methods Over the course of anthropologys development, anthropologists have possessed vacillating devotion to one methodology over another and have embraced epistemological blends of positivism and humanism (Bernard 1994). Anthropologists also utilize qualitative and quantitative methodologies and are most often associated wit h ethnography. Ethnography, is a research process that places the ethnographer as the pr imary tool of data collection and emphasizes what people do and their explanations of why they do what they do (LeCompte and Schensul 1999). Ethnography is a systemat ic course of study that incorporates interviews, participant-observation, sampling, archival, and other mixed methods. My research and internship at the Su lphur Springs Recreation Center and community primarily utilized par ticipant-observation. Part icipant-observation is a qualitative and interpretive method that refers to a process of learning through exposure to or involvement in the day-to-day or routine activities of participants in the research setting (Schensul, et al. 1999:91). As a participant-observer I did not simply observe the daily routines and exceptional moments at the Rec CenterI participated in activities and was charged with continuing and enforcing particular aspects of the inst itutions customary schedule. Such endeavors afforded an intimate knowle dge of the social processes and expectations that cannot be developed through observation alone. Participant-


33 observation allows for the testing of knowledge through the practice of social behaviorsif I held incorrect assumptions they would reveal themselves in a socially awkward moment or an embarrassi ng faux pas. Appropriate knowledge lead to deeper personal connections and increas ed institutional responsibilities. Participant-observation is not as simp le, or easy, as it first appears. Personal and social characteristics such as appearance, gender, race, dress, age, language, class, etc. can pose obstacles or barriers to the acceptance of the researcher (Bernard 1994; Schensul, Schensul and LeCompte 1999). Oftentimes, commencing parti cipant-observation can be difficult at best and disruptive at worst. Natives, the re search population, and the community can be guarded against a newcomer that seemingly has no apparent reason for being around and asking stupid questions. How does an anthropologist gain entre into a community? How does she legitimate her presence while easing the research subjects wariness? Ho w can you be sure that you, as a researcher, is observing and not only participating? Numerous books have been written on the subject of anthropological ethnographic methodology (Agar 1996; Bernard 1994; Schensul, Schensul and LeCompte 1999; Van Willigen 1993). However, no class or book will ever prepare the ethnographic resear cher enough; experience in the field is the best teacher. My position as a volunteer tutor provided an e xceptional and unique position to engage participant-observation at the Rec Center and in the Sulphur Springs community. As a tuto r I was immediately thrust into the daily routine and was quickly able to gain an instant r apport with the students because I was there


34 to help them with their homework. Even though I was initially viewed with skepticism, staff and parents eventually ac cepted my participation as a white female because I was there as a tutor, not as a prying social worker or selfish researcher. As a volunteer tutor, I participated in most of the staff dutiespicking the children up from the local elementary sc hool; walking them to the Rec Center; signing-in the children; instructing students in homework assignments; supervised playground and sports acti vities; helped prepare and distribute snacks; signed students out and was even in troduced to parents. Each of these activities provided a new sphere of inqui ry and avenue for investigating the many lived realities of Sulphur Springs residents. I came into contact with teachers, crossing-guards, neighbors, coaches, polic e officers, and others that provided layered ethnographic details in addition to my personal observations. After some weeks, I gained the res pect of staff and began to be included in porch talks and picnic table gatherings. At first, those pl aces, where staff, students, and some parents congregated appeared off-limits. There was often loud conversation and laughing. Being that there was limi ted seating I felt out of place just sitting down and butting into thei r conversation. As the professional stranger (Agar 1996) I was highly cognizant of my position as an outsider and did not want to jeopardize my position. One day, after being called over to the table to join the conversation I realized that the staff was as interested in my motives as I was of theirs. Although I had introduced myself and explained my research goals at the outset, it requir ed recurrent discussions to fully and


35 convincingly explain my purpose for being at t he Rec. I did not think it ethical to masquerade only as an altruistic volunteerI was an applied anthropologist investigating the effects of a locally implemented national policy. Once I was able to satisfactorily explain my persp ective and understanding of the social processes that effected places like Sulp hur Springs a wellspring of dialogue with the Rec staff followed. So me of the staff knew fam ily or friends that were relocated under the HOPE VI progra m and were concerned regarding the difficulties that they endured during the process. Some expressed hopefulness in the project but acknowl edged the problems that t heir students faced and the ones they managed as Rec center staff. The insights I gained through these conversations could not have come from anywhere else. Likewise, my insights and familiarity with the policy and its effe cts on other communities helped to solidify and bolster the staffs assessment of my motives. In addition to my regular days of tutoring, I attended and staffed neighborhood ceremonies, community events, and youth programming days that took place at the Rec later in the evenings and on weekends. Other neighborhood events away from the Rec, fish-frys, community festivals, and Sunday Brunch, helped to establish relations hips apart from the Rec and youth. Staff knowledge of my research goals played a key role in helping to identify and connect with im portant neighborhood entities. For instance, the Sulphur Springs Action League, the neighbo rhoods civic association, held their monthly membership meetings at the Rec. Since a goal of the HOPE VI study was to understand the range of neighborhoo d experiences from the vantage of


36 public housing relocatees and incumbents, the SSAL meetings provided a forum to meet community residents. While t he SSAL had been meeting at the Rec for years there was a strained and fragile relationship between the group and the Rec. Coach Wesely suggested that I attend the meetings as a Rec representative and work towards creating a renewed partnership. During times of transition, when students vacated the Rec building for SSALs use, there were obvious tensions between the older, white home owning SSAL members and the mostly black, poor, youth. As I lis tened and engaged members in conversation it was clear that many of the members held an unmista kable racist and classist apprehension of the Rec youth. Residents knew (or assu med) that people from the projects had recently begun to reloca te to the neighborhood and were highly cautious of their new neighbors. Fa r fewer members were genuinely concerned for the childrens well being, but they work ed to garner resources for the youth. Membership in the SSAL provided additional socialization activities within the Sulphur Springs community but also, and mo re interestingly, it allowed for an enhanced articulation of the communitys social organization. Eventually, I became a common feature at the Rec. and in the community. Participant-observation activities had forced me to wear many different hats and play many different rolesalways trying to be conscious of my role and duties as a researcher. Being that I was a repr esentative of the Un iversity of South Florida, I was seen as someone with author ity, and was often asked to provide input regarding Rec functions and activities Primarily, I was seen as a volunteer, someone to be accepted and appreciated because I was donating my time for a


37 worthy cause. My motives or opini ons were not questioned. I was no longer scrutinized. Continued commitment to the community portrayed legitimacy I might not have gained as observer. Participation in neighborhood activities, coupled by my understanding and willingnes s to discuss the effects of policies and other macrolevel processes on the co mmunity led to the perception that I was a partner in the struggle to make Sulphur Springs a better place.


38 Chapter 4: Context I first became interested in the co mmunity of Sulphur Springs as an outgrowth of research interest in evaluat ing the effects of im plementing HOPE VI, a national program that a llowed local housing authorities to demolish existing public housing communities and replace them with mixed-income developments. The Tampa Housing Authority was awarded a HOPE VI award of $32.5 million in 1997 to redevelop two public housing comple xes, College Hill Homes and Ponce de Leon Courts. Part of federally funded slum clearance, Ponce de Leon was built in 1940 for white Latin Americ ans. In 1943, the Housing Authority announced that College Hill would be ava ilable for black residents although, after opening many units were rented out to white war workers (Kerstein 2001:97). Beginning in 1999, College Hill and Ponce de Leon residents began relocating to new neighborhoodseither into other public housing complexes or into private rentals using Section 8 housing subsidy vouchers. In the first wave of relocations, over 70 families moved to the Sulphur Springsa historic, but troubled community. In the summer of 2000, a group of applied anthropologists at the University of South Flori da began researching the individual and community effects of such a mass relo cation of nearly 3000 very low-income people.


39 Translating Service-Learning into Engaged Ethnography Abundant scholarship exists document ing the increased developmental risks for children as a result of the nei ghborhoods local conditions, particularly the effects of low-income communities (Briggs 1998; Brooks-Gunn, et al. 1997; Massey and Denton 1993). This literature focuses on individual responses to concentrated poverty rather than the causes of pover ty concentration (Goetz 2000). It often generalizes entire ghetto communities with little to no recognition of the diversity of family structures and in comes or the variation in childrens behavioral responses to the se lected indicators (Moore 2003). These scholars virtually ignore the beneficial and supportive ties that exist between family and friends in poor communiti esproviding essential supports and resources (Greenbaum 2001; Greenbaum 2002). However, there is little debate that children living in po verty suffer unduly. The community conditions of Sulphur Springs appear to pose excessive burden of risk for the neighbor hoods children. Research in Sulphur Springs has revealed a growing and still unmet need for child and youth services. The 2000 Census reported that just under 41% (2, 578) of the total popul ation (6,308) were under 18 years of age; an increase from 1990 where 35% (2,208) of the total population (6,223) were under 18. The local neighborhood school, Sulphur Springs Elementary is one of Floridas lowest scoring FCAT schools. Since the inception of No Child Left Behind, it has failed to make adequate yearly


40 progress. Almost all (96% ) of the students are minorit ies and only slightly less (93%) qualifies for free or reduced lunch (Flo rida Department of Ed ucation 2005). The neighborhood has been repeatedly characterized as a "drug hole" in the local media and is the objec t of frequent reports of cr ime and violence. Very young children often play in the streets, supervised only by older siblings while teenagers gather on corners to socialize. Many parents say they are too scared to let their children out of the house and conf ess to confining children indoors. As Wesley Maiyo, a youth advocate and Recreation Center site coordinator, said, Sulphur Springs is the toughest neighborhood. People live hard here and they dont let anybody in. Its bad reputation is perpetuated in the media, crime reports, and popular lore. As researchers and outsiders, how were we to gain access to this community ? Our first move was to make contact with community activistsWesley Maiyo and Mrs. Dorothy Harmon, a long time Tampa resident and teacher. Based on their input, a formal internship position was developed at the neigh borhood recreation center. This collaboratively designed position provided immediate purpose and utility for our research goals as well as providing a small space to engage the community. The Community of Sulphur Springs My service-learning activities we re focused in a low-income urban neighborhood just south of the University of South Florida. The neighborhood has a long history in Tampa and has been t he site of many changes, typical of residential areas in the urban south (F eldman and Hathaway 2002). The


41 Springs, as it is referred to by the residents of Sulphur Springs, is a historic neighborhood with roots back to the ear ly 1900s when the natural mineral springs were developed as one of Florida's first tourist attracti ons. In the 1920s Josiah Richardson built vacation rental homes and a grand arcade providing goods and services to an increasing number of seasonal tourists. The areas success was tempered by the Depression years and nearly ruined when the flood of 1933 destroyed many of the facilitie s. A brief revival occurred during and right after World War II, when military per sonnel found cheap, affordable housing in the neighborhood. Over the years, Sulphur Springs experienced a decline as long-time residents passed away, wealthier neighbors left the inner-city for the suburbs, and businesses relocated or went bankrup t. Beginning in the late 1970s, a City of Tampa sponsored revitalization pr ogram targeted the areas aging housing stock, most of which had been shoddi ly built as seasonal tourist accommodations. As part of the revitaliz ation plan, dilapidat ed structures were demolished and homeowners were relocated within the Springs to newly constructed houses. Concrete-block dupl exes were then built on the newly vacated lots. Many long-term residents cl aim that these duplexes caused the economic and social decline of their neighborhood. One such resident said, referring to a block of duplexes littered with tras h, sofas, mattresses and abandoned cars: This is terrible. This is absol utely terrible. This is what, Section 8, and absent landlords have done to Sulphur Springs. This is it! And its all worse on the other side of


42 Waters. I dont even come on this side of the road. I NEVER come over here because its SO BAD. I hear everyone say how bad it is over here. Sulphur Springs is a nei ghborhood of contradict ions. As a geographic location it offers convenienceit is se conds from the interstate, minutes from downtown, and within a few miles of the university campus. The beautiful Hillsborough River, the natural sp rings, and grand old oak trees are environmental treasures in an urban landscape. Historical structures such as the 240-foot Sulphur Springs water tower, built in 1927 by Josiah Richardson to provide running water to tourists, and the art deco style Springs Theater, built in the early 1940s, are two of the Citys fe w remaining historical landmarks. However, day-to-day existence in the Sp rings can be challenging. Speeding cars and commercial vehicles are a big problem on the winding roads of the neighborhood. Vacant lots strewn with trash from illegal dum ping, quite often done by people and businesses from out side of neighborhood, are not only eyesores but serve as a ffirmation of the areas reput ation and stigma. Although the Hillsborough River and the springs are de sirable natural amenities, toxic runoff from local and not-solocal industrial and chemical businesses pollute the waters, and there are very few public a ccess sites for neighborhood residents. Numerous pawnshops, used furnitur e stores, car repair garages, small independent businesses and, most recently a few new social service agencies, line Nebraska Avenue, the main north s outh thoroughfare. Signs advertising realtors who will buy your ugly home li tter the landscape. There are no grocery stores, except small mom and pop markets and the Stop and Shop


43 convenience store, or w hat has been sarcastically called the Stop and Get Shot. Although there ar e more than a dozen houses of worship, no banks or financial services are locally available adding additional hardships and hazards (Williams 2001). The greyhound racetrack, a popular spot, especially on the weekends, with its sprawling concrete parking lot occupies the two full blocks between Nebraska on the east and the in terstate on the west. A recently constructed community pool, replacing use of the now polluted springs, is crammed between the parking lot and Hillsborough River. Aesthetically, the picture of Sulphur Springs may seem undesirable; however, there is quaintne ss about the area that engender s feelings of pride and deep affinity. Reminiscing about earlier day s, another long-time resident walked to the end of Mulberry Drive and said: Just look down this street. Look at the treesand its just nice and shady and older houses. You know its just when you get down here cl oser to the trestle, well the trestles not here anymor e but it used to be a metal bridge to get over, over the River. And it was just a little wooden bridge that we used to go across. We used to run across it because when you walk on it, it would, the boards would make noise, even when you drove across it the boards would make noise and it was just a fun, fun bridge and they tore it down. But look how pretty this is. Today, what was once a predominantly white, working-class community is now a culturally, racially, politic ally, and economically mixed neighborhood. Census data over the past thirty years i ndicate increased racial transition and poverty in the area. The overall population of the area stayed relatively stable


44 over the past decade (6,223 in 1990 and 6, 308 in 2000), but racial percentages changed considerably (1990: white 54%, black 42%; 2000: white 32%, black 58%). The 2000 median household inco me for the tract, $21,700, was significantly lower than that of the county, $40,663, and is one of Tampas poorest census tracts, with 40.2% of the families belo w poverty; and only 34.2% of the population has attained a high school diploma or equivalent. This situation is further complicated by the recent in -migration of poor, mostly black households who have been relocated from public housin g as a result of the HOPE VI process (the 2000 Census does not reflect the re locations since the data was collected before the dislocations). Although seemingly resource poor, Sul phur Springs contains very active civic institutions. The Sulphur Springs Action League (SSAL), the neighborhood association, was first established in the fall of 1986 when a long time resident, Linda Hope, moved back to the neighb orhood and was dismayed at what had happened to her old neighborhood. Hope sparked a neighborhood campaign that eventually led to zoning changes, empow ering the neighborhood to force the conversion of duplexes to single-family re sidential houses if left vacant for six months. This was a significant event for the community of Sulphur Springs, gaining political recognition and the abili ty to enforce community standards on absentee landlords. Almost two decades later, the SSAL is still active and through laborious negotiations and petitions, is on the verge of delivering a much needed Hillsborough Public Library Branch for the neighborhood.


45 Another popular neighborhood institution is the Cit y of Tampa Recreation Center. The Rec as it is affectionately called by the many neighborhood youth, serves the neighborhood with a variety of programs for yout h, adults and seniors. Other community groups such as the Hillsborough Planning Commission, Hillsborough County School System, an African Drumming class, and other social services utilize the space throughout the year. The Rec is a foundation of the neighborhood not just as a physical si te but one that reaches back into the memories of the many seniors that have grown up in the area. Ethyl, an older woman who has lived in Sulphur Springs sinc e she was a little girl, over 55 years, remembers hearing her dad call her home from the corner a few streets away as she played on the basketball court. The fact that the Nort h Tampa Recreation Center was changed to the George A. Bart holomew Center, named after the first VP of the SSAL, bears witness to the importance of t he connection between the Center space and the neighborhood. Service-Learning as Ethnography Fall 2000. In the fall of 2000, I began research in Sulphur Springs as part of Dr. Greenbaums Community Developm ent course, which included a servicelearning component. In conjunction to course reading materi al, I explored the issues related to anthropological comm unity development through service as a tutor at the neighborhood re creation center. As forme r public housing residents relocated to the neighborhood, I wanted to know what the effects these relocations would have on the relocatees the incumbent residents, and on the


46 neighborhood institutions. Wesley Ma iyo, Director of the North Tampa Recreation Center, had recently asked for volunteer tutoring help and Greenbaum suggested that it would be a good place to begin community research. I met with the director, Wesley Maiy o, shortly after to learn about the community, recreation center and volunteer activities. After the first meeting, Wesley went out of town to visit his family in Africa, leaving either no one capable, knowledgeable, or interested in introducing me to the youth students, other staff, or volunteer wo rk. My first visit without We sley was one of my most awkward moments as an anthropologist. I stood around for about an hour. None of the staff introduc ed themselves or even asked me what I was doing there. I was basically i gnored or worsenot seen. I assumed that Wesley had not told anyone about my volunteering. I mistakenly assumed that I would be welcomed with open arms. I did not see any other volunteers, only children, teenagers, and staff easily identified by their maroon uniform sh irts. No parents or other adults were there. I later learned that the ambivalence to my presence was not a result of my personality or behavior, nor wa s it out of rudeness or i ndifference. Basically, there was no official volunteer coordinator and the staff and youth were not expecting a volunteerthere werent usually any. In the past, volunteers were part of a church group or other organizati on that had specific plans to accomplish or projects to implement. They were more or less self-contained. Individuals, especially white, middle-class looking peop le stopped by the Rec all the time to


47 put on a demonstration project or to use the facility for th is or other meeting. The staff assumed that I was there for such a purpose and preferred not to be approached (unfortunate ly, there had been strained relations between community members and the Rec center st aff and youth as I would come to find out). As a result of this initial failed attempt to engage volunteering at the Center, Wesley and I worked together to est ablish an official role at the Rec. I became a tutoring volunteer. After walking over with Coach Wayne to pick up the students from Sulphur Springs Element ary, I was introduced to the staff and the youth participants as a very specia l student from USF who was giving up personal time and energy to be here to help you kids with your homework. I was to be respected and listened to. If I had pr oblems there would be trouble just like with any other staff or c oach. I was asked to address the crowd of students and staff. Caught off guard and embarrassed, I thanked everyone for allowing me the opportunity and told them that I was look ing forward to learning from the students as much as I was looking forward to helpi ng them with their homew ork. I felt silly to think that I was special and that I was g iving up time. At fi rst, I thought, Im the one getting a grade for this. I also did not want anyone to expect too much of me or of my tutoring abilit ies. That introduction initiated my official role as a volunteer and I was immediately transferred to a different status among the staff and students. What that status was exactly was yet to be negotiated. Spring 2001. While I was going through an aw kward process of becoming a recognized volunteer at the Center I also became an official member of the


48 HOPE VI research group. My interest and activities in Sulphur Springs were formally incorporated into the research plan. As I learned more and more about Sulphur Springs I also learned more about other areas of Tampa that were impacted through the implem entation of HOPE VI. I attended meetings of the Homeless Coalition, Enterprise Zone, Tampa Housing Authority and other community meetings and make contacts there. Although the initial serv ice-learning requirement was completed, I continued my tutoring activi ties at the Rec and decid ed that I could commit at least one day a week on a regular and continuing basis for tutoring. However, with over seventy students, it quickly became apparent that it was very difficult, if not impossible, to do any real tutoring. In the beginning, I visi ted table after table helping students with their homework sheet s while introducing myself. It was hard work getting to know all of the student s. It seemed that many did not have respect for me evidenced by their refu sal to listen to my requests and their obvious disregard for my reprimands. But who could blame them ? Who was I? I had not proven myself yet and considering their unfamiliarity with volunteers we were all in uncharted territory. Some were surprised when I returned week after week. One little boy, Dante, asked, Why do you keep coming here? I explained to him that I was a volunteer and that I had committed to vi siting and helping him and other students with their homework once a week. He showed his appreciation by flashing a smile and giving me a big hug. Then he dug into his book bag to retrieve his crumbled homework sheet and we sat down together.


49 Time and practice proved, that I, as an inexperienced volunteer tutor, was not at all prepared or qualified to provi de tutoring services to many of the children. Some students could not yet write the alphabet and numbers. Some students were obviously below their actual grade level and had consistent and serious difficulties in comprehending homework assignments. Other students attempted to work through learning barri ers that I was untr ained and unqualified to address. Other problems resulted from t he definite lack of resources in terms of pencils, paper, homework materials, and supplemental aids. The ratio, one tutor to seventy plus students resulted in effective tutoring sessions. Short attention spans due to sugar rushes, insu fficient nutrition, or lack of recreation time created additional barri ers to successful learning. Things taken for granted at most tutoring sites, like pencils and working sharpeners, were not only absent but would often be the source of fi ghting and bickering am ong the students. Sometimes pencils and paper were prov ided by the Rec and it would be distributed as widely as possible. Many times I passed out pencils and paper that I had purchased myself, which was not an easy charge on a graduate students budget. Regardless, there wa s never enough and I used the shortage as an opportunity to discuss and practice shari ng. It often seemed that it was the same scenario for everything from school supplies, to arts and crafts, to computers, to books, to spor ts equipment. After wee ks of this, it became clear that homework and other enrichment activities simply could not be the focus of my service-learning activitiesthe lack of resources and materials were major obstacles in addition to my lack of training.


50 Many children claimed not to have homeworkand often they were legitimate. Teachers did not always assi gn homework. A commonly told story involved an unprepared substitute teacher and a lax school day. This was hard for me to believe, but I would check wit h other students in the same class and heard the same story. I learned that substitutes were reason enough not to have homework. Disappointingly, students and staff also blamed the lack of homework on the schools inability to produce enough homework sheet copies to send home with all the student s. Other times, Rec staff was busy with other more pressing concerns to look for the tattered and used homework books supplied by the City of Tampa. Even when the books were located, the Rec Center copy machine would be out of toner or inflict ed with some other malfunction. If homework sheets were avai lable, they were often difficult to decipher and were, in my opinion, inane. I can remember homework ditto sheets that were incorrect or were so hard to decipher that I, a graduate student, could not determine how to proceed. They were entirely disconnected to the realities and circumstances of these childrens lives The extreme absence of appropriate supplies produced a deep disinterest on the part of students, teachers, Rec center staff, parents and myself in tuto ring and homework activities and was thus became a major hurdle to achieving the service goals. Since there were no materials available to engage them in academic work, the students often resorted to running around, playing, misbehaving, fighting, yelling, sleeping; all the things children do after a long day at school when there is not enough supervision and nothing interest ing to capture their energies.


51 Food, or the lack of, was an additional hur dle and distraction. The children were hungry. Some were lethargic and dist racted easily. Others begged for money for the vending machine, which was officially off-limits. Howe ver, many children often purchased sugary snacks or salt y chips. Others bought snacks before coming to the Rec or brought snacks from home. Some walked down the street to the Candy Ladys house for candy, chicken or jewelry. Although the children needed these calories and energy, it was empty nourishment and caused the students to be overly hyperactive and distracted. In spite of these growi ng pains and hurdles, as the weeks went by, the children became used to my presence and the idea that we would attempt homework. Some students would see me pull up in my car and they would come running over yelling, Miss Wendy! One would be hugging me, another grabbing for my sunglasses, and there was always someone asking me for spare change. Students would ask me to play with them. Groups of girls w ould gather around and do my hair. Others would tell me about their family and ask about mine. Some students even began introducing me to their parents. These were all opportunities to engage the children and parents about what was going on in their lives and know their thoughts on such th ings as the weather, sports, gossip, and public policies. At first, this scenario was in contrast to my relationship with the staff. While the children gravitated towards me the staff established more and more distance. After a few weeks I was basic ally left on my own to watch, tutor, control, praise, teach, and reprimand more than sevent y students. Other staff


52 would supervise other grade levels, play sports, or eat chicken and gossip about other staff and students on the front stoop. I felt that my volunteerism was being taken for granted. I was concerned about this detachment. There were ethical issues, related more to volunteer work among children than to research and IRB guidelines. I still had not filled out any paperwo rk certifying that I was who I said I was, that I was not a crimi nal, or worst of all a child molester, but that was never established. I was accepted solely on the basis of my willingness to be a service-learning volunteer in that communi ty. Furthermore, I had absolutely no childcare or tutoring skills beyond a few baby-sitting jobs from when I was twelve. I simply did not have the skills to watch this many children and never claimed to have that experience, especia lly with children this young in age. I do not mean to suggest that all of the staff were slacking off all the time, but there were several times when I was completely overwhel med and needed help only to see a group of staff, congregating on the front porch. I couldnt hel p but assume they were just hanging out and taking a break. The longer I continued at the center, the more frustrated and exha usted I became. After some time, I empathized and rea lized that the staff wasnt lazy or mean but overworked and run ragged. It also became evident that what I assumed was avoidance was result of an absence of official or socially established guidelines dealing with a volunt eer tutor. The staff had their own opinions of what I was doing there, what I could do there, and how I was to do it. There were no rules for engagement.


53 I approached Wesley to discuss the shocking lack of resources. The Recs building and grounds bore telltale signs of an inner-city center, unsightly from neglect. The outside was coated in ja rring pink pastel paint leftover from some other city project with metal scr eens over the few tiny windows. The playground was littered and bare of landscaping except two trees with carvings and tired limbs. The playground pavili on housed a wooden picnic table with broken benchesthat was often overturned but kept in place by a steel chain. Metal garbage cans were bent and kicked in. The basketball court markings were faded with no nets in the hoop. Gla ss and trash littered the parking lot just the outside. Inside the walls were bare bec ause City rules dictated that tape and other adhesives ruined the walls. The lone pool table was ripped with tip less cue sticks. Likewise, the community workout equipment was torn with missing pieces. The TV/VCR worked if you pus hed the right buttons in the right combination. There were few, old, anachronistic books on the library shelves often with torn and missing pages. As an E nrichment Center, it was failing to provide the resources and activities pr omoted and promised by the Citys Parks and Recreation Department. Wesley and I had many conversations about the goals and ideas he had for improving the center. Wesley was familiar with Sulphur Springs and knew about the challenges on the street, in t he schools, and at home that his students faced. He knew that these students were poor. He knew that their grandmothers or other relatives were raising many. Many of who worked more than one fulltime job just to make the bare ends meet.


54 Most people who work or live in Sulphur Springs have the same opinion about the neighborhood. I have heard that in the past it was a wonderful place. It was near the river, the springs, shoppi ng, downtown, churches, supermarkets, etc. But that was in the past. Now, par ents are scared to let their children out of the house. One Sulphur Springs parent sa id, I dont even let them out to play half the time. If they go out the door, I m there. I have to watch them. Another parent said about the neighborhood, You got some ki ds over here that fights and you, basically, you got to walk with your kids, cause, I mean there is a lot of trouble here. Although the Rec is a valuable and much needed community institution, the neighbo rhood dangers often prevent parents, especially those without cars, from allowing their children to visit. When asked why her child no longer went to the Center, one mother said I used to let them go up there. But now that were far, I dont let them go up th ere as often. Yeah, cause, I mean, if I let them go, I dont know what will happen or walking on Waters. Anything can happen! Other concerns mirror the common st ereotypes about urban, poor, black neighborhoods. Talking to a white, thirty-something church activist and Sulphur Springs resident about what it is like to grow up in Sulphur Springs, she said, What kind of life can you expect for a child who is growing up with a 14 or 15 year old mother who didnt finish high school herself? She went on to say: You go over to drop off their ki ds or go talk to a mom. Usually when we find out things like that, when we go over to talk to the mom about their kids acting wild at the church. We go to tell them. And then you come in and youre, like the mom is like, What? You know the


55 door is wide open and the kids are like, and they dont even care. Youre like, What a waste of my time! Mom didnt even care that I went and told. You know. The kids are like, I told you she wasnt going to care. You know and you smell pot and you see it, you know, and smoke and stuff. Other stereotypes identify the youth, especially teenage boys, as the sole cause for the neighborhoods decline. Me mbers of the Sulphur Springs Action League often claim that boys on bikes are drug dealers and car thieves. Boys on bikes, especially black boys on bikes, are feared by the elderly, both black and white, who are mostly middle class. There is no recognition that these boys have no transportation accept for thei r bikes and that while, yes some drug dealers do use bikes, others are innocent ly riding through the neighborhood on their way home, to a friends house, or up to the park. Building a Service-Learning Model Wesley was also knowledgeable about the HOPE VI progr am. He spoke out against the HOPE VI plan at a Jacksonville meeting. A long time friend of his owned a business in the area around College Hill and Ponce de Leon. According to the HOPE VI plans there was to be no compensation for the local business that lost their clientel e base through the mass relocation of housing project residents. He was also keenly aware of the influx of new youth participants at the Rec. and in the neighborhood. He attri buted a lot of the new families to the HOPE VI relocations. This recogniti on was in conjunction with the knowledge that Sulphur Springs is a transitory pl ace where families find temporary housing


56 for a time before they move on to the next affordable housing location sometimes leaving for good but ot her times returning just months or years later. Wesley knew of incidences where ch ildren were sent to live with family elsewhere in the city and as far away as Kansas or California, due to HOPE VI. Furthermore, he was rightly frustrated wit h the lack of concern and attention the City and other government agencies showed Sulphur Springs. He desired more coordination between USF and the neighborhood. Since Mr. Maiyo worked at USF on the weekends he was aware of t he work students and researchers were doing in Tampa neighborhoods. We began to meet and work on setting out his goals as well as develop new possibilities. As I showed continued in terest and dedication to the site and the people of the recreation center Wesley introduced me to more and more people, visiting staff, parent s, and other service programme rs. I started going to SSAL meetings on behalf of the Cente r--talking with members, defending the children of the center, and promoting the Rec cent ers agenda. Above all, volunteers were needed. I thought it woul d be a good idea to get others from the university to join me. Wesley expre ssed concern over the use and reliance on volunteers, citing previous experiences w here volunteers came to the center for a week to a month, promising more than they could give. He had seen children develop deep, intense, emotional bonds with volunteers just to be hurt and disappointed when volunteers fulfilled their obligations, and promised to return but never did so. He thought that through the childrens life position, constantly being exposed to agency after agency, volunt eer after volunteer. As they grew


57 older, moving through the system of di sconnected services, through one pair of short-term, community servic e fulfilling volunteer hands to the next, to the burned out service provider who has surrendered (acquiesced) to the st atus quo, that the children become frigid and reluctant to accept new faces and volunteers. Although he recognized that the center, staff, youth, and community desperately needed an influx of volunteers (because t here was not enough funds to pay or hire additional trained staff) he want ed dedicated, educated, and energetic volunteers. Summer 2001. During the summer internship, I continued working and going to the recreation center at least twice a week. I would tutor, play, discipline, and joke with t he students. The co mposition of the youth participants changed--students who usually came to the recreation during the school year did not participate in the summer program for a variety of reasonstoo costly, not in the area, didnt have transportation, went to a different su mmer program, or stayed at home with other siblings or al one. New students ca me to the program, many of whom attended the local element ary school. The children gave a variety of reasons that they did not attend the school year after school programthe program was too expensive; they were enr olled in after program s at their school; during the school year, parents arrived home soon after children returned from school but during the summer they were relu ctant to leave their children alone for an entire day; fieldtrips and activities were a huge draw; or they were new in the area and this was their first time at the recreation center.


58 Knowing that there were no funds to hire paid staff, I worked on assembling a mechanism that would bring reliable volunteers to the Rec. Coach Wesley had some reservations regardi ng the use of volunteers due to past difficulties. Coordinating volunteers r equires extra staff attention and can easily turn into a hindrance rather than help. He also expressed concern over the childrens willingness to accept outsiders. In his opinion, he had seen many children build emotional walls of defense against the inevitable ending of volunteer relationshipspersistent ba rriers encumbering t he development of future trusting relationships. With this understanding I worked with Dr. Janna Jones from USFs Department of Interdisciplinary Studies to developing a Service-Learning course that would introduce USF st udents to the Center. As part of Jones commitment to the benefits of service-learning, she had developed an undergraduate servicelearning course in the spring of 2001 bas ed at the YMCA in Tampa Heights. Hearing of our HOPE VI research in Sulp hur Springs, Jones wanted to conduct a service-learning course at the Rec. In the spring of 2001, Dr. Jones and I were granted funds from USFs University Communi ty Initiative Grant Program to fund a service-learning course based on my previous internship and research. Over the summer, I continued my research based service and became familiar with students, parents, staff, community members, government representatives, service providers, and more. The Rec was a location where a variety of services, interests, pers ons, and agendas intersected and sometimes collided. I did notice that the use of the recreation center was segregated


59 depending upon the time of day. In the mornings, especially during the school year, there were virtually no students. The only student s there during the school year were students enrolled in the AT OSS programa program that allowed suspended students the chance to attend a special class where they could maintain their attendance. Otherwise, without this opportunity, students who amassed too many absences would autom atically be held back and forced to repeat a grade regardless of their grades. A senior citizen group would use the space to hold meetings and their weekly bi ngo game. I sat in a few times to see about anywhere from dozen to 15 or more elderly people enjoy conversation, light snacks, and games. They were predominantly white, working class residents over the age of 70. I do remember one or two black el derly. Most of these residents had lived in the neighborhoo d for decades. Some grew up in the area and had never really lived elsewhere. In the afternoons, the children would come from the elementary school, middle school, and later in the afternoon the high school. Being that the recreat ion center was an open facility and a community resource, students not enrolled in the after school program could still use the grounds, most often the playgr ound and the basketball courts. They were not provided homework help, movies snacks, or other recreation such as team sports or step classes. Fall 2001. Beginning in the fall of 2001, Dr. Jones and I spent hours preparing for the service-learning course. Designing a service-learning curriculum is labor intensive, requiring particular care in selecting course materials that will speak to and connect st udents with the real-world situations


60 that they will encounter. Frequent comm unication with Rec staff helped to keep key stakeholders aware of course devel opments and it helped to insure their participation in designing the purpose and go als of the service project. Rec staff input is a key requirement in developing a service project thereby maximizing the potential for success. Spring 2002. Dr. Jones and I co-taught ISS 3010, An Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies in the spring seme ster of 2002. Althou gh the course is required for all Interdisciplinary Studies ma jors, this class was unique in that it was the only service-learning option for th is requirement. On the first day of class, the concept of service-l earning was discussed. A few students immediately dropped the cour se, but most decided to stay enrolled. The objective of the course was to intr oduce students to the investigation of structures of inequality thr ough traditional classroom activities, such as reading, writing, discussions, films, etc., and participation in activities in a local neighborhood affected by those structures. The class met for three hours once a week, providing a convenient block of time to discuss theoretical issues and engage in service. The first six weeks were spent introducing social science concep ts, teaching the value of qualitative research, and building sensitivity to the c onditions in Sulphur Springs. Many of the students were resistant to hearing liber al ideas regarding our societys forms of inequality. Some were offended at the dismissal of the American Dream as a viable mechanism for social mobilit y. Students were encouraged to think critically and use empirical evidence to support their conclusions.


61 Most of the students had never heard of Sulphur Springs and certainly had not visited the neighborhood. As in anthropology fieldwork and research, it is important that students prepar e for entering the field. Students were introduced to qualitative research methods, focusing on participant-observation and interviewing. Readings by Jonat han Kozol (1995) provided ethnographic descriptions of urban poverty and its effect s on families and children. Literature and discussions on the history of s outhern urban centers explained the development of suburbs and the general decline of urban districts (Fishman 1999; Lang and Sohmer 2000) I provided le ctures on the history of the Sulphur Springs neighborhood and prov ided firsthand accounts of the current social, economic, and political environment. In addi tion, careful and repeated addition was given to discussions on the ethics of engagementthe need to be respectful and understanding, but most of all the need to acknowledge personal biases and ethnocentric stereotypes when assessi ng the neighborhood conditions and the lived realities of our se rvice-learning partners. The class met at the Rec for the next seven weeks. On the first visit, groups of three to four college stu dents teamed up with five to six youth participants and formed a cohesive group fo r the remainder of the course. Although all the students wanted to play, the first hour of every class period was spent on homework. After the tutoring session, the groups went to work on getting to know one another through community mapping exercises and interviews. The college students had devel oped an interview protocol in class


62 and interviewed the children using tape reco rders. Then the children interviewed the college students and wrote up shor t biographical paragraphs. Amazing differences and similariti es between the college students and youth were gleaned from these exchanges and the weekly response papers that the college students were required to write. One student commented on her surprise at learning that o verall, what came out of my interviews was that [the children] seem very happy and content in Sulphur Springs and really know no other way of life. There was very little negativity in what they told me about their community and they all seemed to feel safe and very much a t home in Sulphur Springs. In contrast, anot her student was distressed wr iting, Behind the smiles, there is a lot of pain. These kids have seen a lot and they know a lot. One touching moment for me was when I ask ed how he feels about the cops and as he was talking tears were coming from his eyes as he was explaining how the cops chase people and sometimes beat t hem. Through the exchanges the college students were able to see a humanity there that they never expected to see in a place of poverty. From this position of collaboration, the teams set out to interview neighborhood residents about the community of Sulphur Springs. To the students consternation, many neighbor hood residents were reluctant to be interviewed. However, the students were able to secure some interviews and through those interviews they were surpri sed to discover that for such a small community, there were very diverse pers pectives and attitudes regarding Sulphur Springs. Older residents often remini sced about the good ol days and either


63 supported or lamented the cu rrent state of affairs d epending upon their personal points of view. Many residents enthus iastically supported and recommended their community institutions, however others had virulent opinions laced with racist undertones. The older, life long resi dents proclaimed that no matter what happened they were going to die in Sulphur Springs, cementing their life long relationship with neighborhood. Newcom ers, young homeowners, saw potential in the overlooked community, pointing out opportunities for community clean-ups and youth programs. The interviews were transcribed, colla ted, and published into a research document, The Sulphur Springs Community Folio which was distributed to all of the youth, college, staff, and resident participants. Copies of the document were placed in the Rec lending library, the Un iversity of South Floridas Special Collections, and the City of Ta mpa Public Library. The college students coordinated with lo cal service providers, churches, local businesses, and the USF Athletic Department to host a celebration party at the Rec. It was well attended and appreciated--There was food to feed hundreds; a DJ playing all the hip record s; Rocky, USFs costumed mascot, Lee Roy Selmon, a Tampa Bay Buccaneer Hall of Famer; and tons of prizes and gifts. This party served as an effective wa y to promote the Centers activities to a number of community member s who were unfamiliar with the services provided there. Community members from the Sulphur Springs Action League, neighborhood churches, and other residents attended the event in celebration of positive community action.


64 During the last three weeks, t he students drew upon their fieldnotes, classroom notes, readings, film s, and the Folio to write a critical assessment of the variety of factors that influence a persons social status. For many, this was their first experience with fieldwork, qualitative method ologies, and poverty. The student papers were very impressive and hi ghly reflexive. For a group that was at first very uneasy about leaving the co mforts of the campus for the unknown and potential dangers of t he community, thei r eventual willingness and commitment to the idea of service and compassion was encouraging. More satisfying was that students were able to make connections between structural processes and the residents lived realit ies; discussing the effects of racism, suburbanization, globalizati on, and welfare reform on the creation and alleviation of poverty. Although not all students we re as willing to acknowledge the macrolevel forces in the creation and ma intenance of local poverty, the majority was now willing to look for the larger societ al structures rather than rely on simple individual and behavior based explanations. My immediate assessment of the cour ses success was supported by the students course evaluations. Overall, the students rated the course as Very Good or Excellent; often accompanied by favorable and encouraging comments regarding their service-learning experiences. Many wrote to explain that they never had a class like this before and that they had not expected the service requirement to have such a large impact on their worldview. Many of the students (the majority of students were white and middle class) had never met and befriended poor, black people befor e and were appreciative of the


65 experience. A few students wrote and sugg ested that they were interested in continuing their service project and would li ke to incorporate their experiences in other classes, if not other service-learning courses. While the majority of the evaluations were overwhelmingly positive, some had critiques. One student rated the class and the instructors as poor and provided no comments to further ex plain their assessment. Even more disheartening was one student s comments pleading that America was a great society and that all people, regardless of race or gender, had equal opportunity to make a living for themselves and that bad decisions and choices were the cause of human suffering and poverty. Other nonpositive comments were coupled with remarks on the difficulty of the servic e-learning project. One particularly memorable evaluation questioned the serv ice-learning project goalspointing out that none of the students seemed to benef it from the tutoring or interviews and that the children would c ontinue to be poor. Overall, Dr. Jones and I felt the course was a success in that the majority of the students satisf actorily completed the course and service assignments. In addition, students were exposed to alternative explanations for poverty and inequality and many developed critical thinking skills that would be carried out of the classroom to other courses and life situations. Building Bridges to the University: University-Community Engagement As my research activities and ethnography in the Sulphur Springs community continued, I found additional res ources to continue service-learning


66 activities at the Rec. I assisted other faculty members to establish connections to the Rec and other community institutions so that they could conduct additional service-learning programs. Additionally I began to attend various meetings at the university and in the Sulphur Springs community that were concerned with building and strengthening universi ty-community relationships. In the summer of 2002, James Kuzin and I, under the guidance of Dr. Greenbaum, wrote and received a Safe Summer grant from the Hillsborough County Childrens Board to conduct a serv ice-learning summer program for the youth, ages 6-12, of Sulphur Springs at the Rec. The curriculum focused on introducing the children to concepts of community and qualitative inquiry while engaging in beautification and gardening serv ice activities. Daily discussions regarding the community; guest speakers; and fieldtrips to neighborhood landmarks; the Hillsborough River State Park; and the USF Botanical Gardens and Anthropology Museum; in conjunction with qualitative research interviewing, photography, and participant -observationconnected students to the history and current context of their neighbor hood and beyond. This scenario was different for the youth for many of them had been receivers of the earlier se rvice-learning course. Like college students who have access to the various benefits of servicelearning, the youth were provided the same opportunities. A book, The Sulphur Springs Neighborhood Engagement Summer 2002 Program, documenting the curriculum, fieldtrips, interviews, photographs, and service wa s published and distributed to the students and community. The summer program was determined a success by all involved.


67 The program supplemented the Recs r egular summer programming, provided much needed beautification and clean-up services, and offered youth with opportunities to experience facets of t heir community. Most importantly, the relationships and partnerships established between the various community institutions and the youth helped to di spel the mythsheld by manyregarding what it meant to be from Sulphur Springs, or what it meant to be a person in power. Then in the Spring of 2003, I t aught another undergr aduate servicelearning at USF. Writing Cultures was part of the Learning Communities program and focused on providing student s with analytic tools, methods, and examples for examining power and social inequality. The curriculum was a close duplication of the Introduction to Interd isciplinary Studies course with one major deviation. Due to the cla sss morning meeting time, the class was not able to participate in service-activities as a group. Instead, individuals engaged their service requirements as their schedules per mitted. Overall, the course was less successful due to the fragmented service activities. However, the Rec staff and youth still appreciated the e ffort and the students learne d that they shared more similarities with the residents t han they initially suspected. At the same time, three other US F service-learning courses were conducted at the Rec in Sulphur Springs Students enrolled in play therapy, visual arts, and social work found themse lves learning by doing. Each course had differing objectives and projects, but all were designed to introduce the college students to discipline-specific conc epts and practices through the service


68 activities. Rec staff and youth were ex cited and enthusiastic about the increased interest. However, a perceived lack of communication, collaboration, and concern quickly led to problems and staff distrust of the se rvice-learning agenda. As I had been volunteering at the Re c center for many months and had worked hard to establish a relationship of mu tual trust, it was not surprising that the staff approached me with their concerns. At first, many of the staff had assumed that I was somehow in charge or involved with the service-learning courses. When I explain ed that I only helped make the connection between the Rec and the university, the staff admitted that they were confused. More dismaying was the revelation that they had issues with some aspects of the projects and felt they had little opportunity or possibility for conveying those concerns. Talking with staf f I learned there was a range of problems. Staff often found Rec space and equipment dirty, me ssy, and not put awaycausing extra work at the end of an already long wo rkday. Other staff worried about parent complaints regarding a permission letter t hat not only spelled the neighborhood incorrectly (Sulfur Springs) but inform ed parents that the children were not allowed to take their art projects home because art is for arts sake. Of major concern was a perceived ethica l transgression regarding two of the service projects. Concern arose w hen it was learned t hat students were conducting the play therapy serviceselic iting conversations about abuse and trauma through playwith young children. Furthermore, there were no professional services available or a pl an to connect families and children after the service-learning course was finished, beyond a required by law report to the


69 appropriate agency. What assurance did the staff or par ents have that the children would receive appropriate care onc e the traumas were exposed? What guarantee was available to ensure that parents and families were not wrongly accused? The biggest problem regarding this set of service-learning projects was the lack of collaborat ion and coordination between USF faculty and Rec staff. There were unclear lines of communi cation with apparently no specific USF coordinator or contact. Staff felt pressu red to accept the services because they were free and did not want to be seen as complaining or undeserving. Furthermore, the perceived lack of attent ion to possible consequences of the services left staff and parents feeling used by the university. Dismayed and disappointed, I learned that there was very little I could do to remedy the situation. I suggested that I contact the professors to discuss the ethics of engagement and concern for collaboration and offer guidance based on anthropology fieldwork training. I spoke to representatives at the university, however the lack of a clear or centraliz ed coordination body fo r service-learning projects thwarted attempts to achieve immediate changes or alleviate the perceived transgressions.


70 Chapter 5: Discussion My applied anthropology research inte rnship at a community recreation center proved to be a uni que opportunity to prac tice and build on USFs university-community engagement mission. Anthropologically informed approaches to community research and fi eldwork resulted in a collaborative partnership that not only generated one su ccessful service-learning course, but also provided opportunities for faculty to create additional and diverse servicelearning relationships. According to the service-learning and engagement literature, these programs offer benefits to the community and the university. What benefits did these particular program s provide? How can we be sure that the service-learning program s at the Sulphur Springs Recreation Center create better citizens and provide valuable serv ice without falling into possible blaming the victim pitfalls? This analysis makes no attempt to evaluate systematically the servicelearning agendas. However, as an applied anthropologist with deep personal and professional ties to the community of Sulphur Spring (the Rec Center especially), I have an ethical responsibility not only to document concerns raised by staff over the servicelearning enterprise, but to reveal the ways that state sponsored policies mask the macrolevel processes that create inequality, and thus the need for service-learning. It is clear that university faculty and students have good intentions in implementing service-learning progr ams in depressed


71 and low-income areas. However, a critic al anthropology must ask if the project achieved its goals and whether those goals contribute to creating social change. The projects described above indicate that on superficial level servicelearning courses provide much needed reso urces and expertise. However, these resources apparently come with a price. The service-learning agenda requires extra expenditures in the way of staffi ng and supervision and even in materials. If the service-learning model does not include or consider these attached costs, the burden is then transferred to staff and often results in feelings of distrust and dissatisfaction. Agency staff must be capable and wiling to coordinate and supervise service-learning activities. Even with a faculty me mber present, there must be someone to represent the agencys or institutes interests. Without collaborative representation, power imbalances quickly turn into trouble and can be the demise of any service-learning or research project. Concerns arise for college students enrolling in the service-learning course. Often, many have never visited low-income and minority neighborhoods. This culture shock can lead to fee lings of fear and discomfort and can cause some students to drop the course or worse, carry negative stereotypes between town and gown. For this reason, it is essential that students be prepared, not only with an explanation of the service pr oject goals, but also with introductions to the historical political-economic processes that have produced current community conditions. Students who have not yet gained critical analysis skills or exposure to social stratification theories often rely on popular explanations for


72 inequality and poverty--employing eit her racial and gendered (and class and sexuality) stereoty pes or individualized explanations. More disturbing is the reality that even those wit h understanding and exposure continue to reproduce ideologies of difference and inferior ity. At a miniconference on community engagement a service-learning faculty member commented on the special and extraordi nary rhythm possessed by the black youth at the Sulphur Springs. And in addressing the ex treme lack of food security experienced by many of the y outh serviced by the service-learning project, it was recommended that the ch ildren be taught to be resilient against hunger. As if the solution to debilitating poverty can be conjured up in individual bodies and that it would be best to start teaching them while they are young. Another Sulphur Springs service-lear ning presentation highlighted letters written by the youth to various government agencies expressing dissatisfaction. Verbatim quotes or entire letters we re projected onto a screen, including misspellings and colloquial sayings. These African American Vernacular English phrases triggered giggles and laughs by the university audience. Furthermore, the same faculty member, at a Hillsborough County Planning Commission Think Tank on the Communi ty of Sulphur Springs meeting, proposed that the Sulphur Springs youth learn to play band instruments donated by USF faculty and other communities me mbers. The youth would then perform concerts, drawing white and well-to-do t ouristsproviding profits that could then be used for community development projects.


73 While these are subtle suggestions, they serve to reinforce power relations based on intersecting subjectivities that continue to place poor people of color at one end while blaming their so cial position on bad decisions. Furthermore, service-learning agendas that fail to consider long-term or future consequences of the service project again reinforce the notion that the benefits of the service-learning project is des igned more for the college students rather than the community. Without reflection on ethical rules for engagement and a plan for leaving, service-learning projec ts may cause more harm than good. If the goal of service-learning is to provide students with analysis skills and civic responsibility while also providing valuable resources to communities in need, we must then consider the ideologi es and discursive processes through which conditions are accepted as norma l part of our society and how these make sense to people at precise historic al moments (Lyon-Callo 2004:25). Service-learning curriculums can be a useful tool in teaching students skills and providing experiences requi red for critical analysis of the hegemonic discourses that reproduce axes of difference. Howe ver, creating social justice requires that service-learning partnerships be based on mutual understandings and collaborative processesthereby enabling mu tually satisfactory outcomes and results. A reliance on the assumed and proposed benefits of service alone will not automatically result in better comm unity conditions or improved universitycommunity relations. Initiating servicelearning agendas without respect for the importance of race and class (and gender and sexuality) as axes of inequality will not only fail to produce enhanc ed learning opportunities and civic


74 responsibility, but may even contribute to the neoliberal projec t that works to individualize social problems by ma sking government responsibility and its complicity in promoting state policies whic h favor the interests of capital over the concerns of the citizenry (L yon-Callo and Hyatt 2003:137).


75 Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendations The applied anthropology and servicelearning experiences described above reveal the many benefits and consequences of university-community engagement. Despite surging literature that professes un limited benefits, service-learning is a complex process that does not contain intrinsic benefits. Positive outcomes are the result of much planning and collaboration. Simply offering volunteer service in conjuncti on with classroom activities does not automatically produce desir able outcomes. It creat es greater potential for disasterengendering and intensifying fee lings of distru stthereby deepening the divide between town and gown. Hark avy, a service-l earning expert and engaged scholar has similar distrust in the ability of the serv ice-learning project to deliver on its promises. He writes, t hat because service-learning has largely been concerned with advancing the civic co nsciousness and moral character of college students and does not focus on solv ing core community problems that service learning, as currently defined and practiced, is not an effective vehicle for improving our schools and communities It may even enable universities to evade their responsibility to their lo cal environments (Harkavy 1996:5). Harkavy does not advocate abandoning the service-learning concept, but recommends a critical examination of t he goals, methods, and purposes. As the ethnographic evidence illustrates, the gener ic service-learning model contains


76 serious weaknesses. Consequences c an affect both the university and community and be suffered by individuals and institutions. Particularly vulnerable are the service receivers due to the power imbalance of a relationship where one par ty is imparting benefits to another needy party. The scenario sets up one gr oup or individual as the giver and the other as the taker. Additionally, the re ceiver is rendered somewhat powerless in deciding how the relationship will work. The service-learner is a foreigner who has agreed to enter the service site territ ory for a specified period of time but will return to their native lands and lives at t he end of the semester, leaving those at the site without means to continue the rela tionship. Paid staff or even long term volunteers of the service site may be threatened by the presence of short term volunteers with light res ponsibility loads but nonet heless are celebrated and praised for their brief interlude. While s hort service periods are necessary to fit the academic timeframe, it can lead to feelings of abandonment and loss. Tutoring and mentoring services are inti mate connections, especially for young children and the elderly. It is sometimes difficult for people receiving the service to understand why their new friend and tuto r must end their relationship at a seemingly artificial juncture. Due to the awkwar dness of the situation and sometimes out of honest desire, servicelearning students will promise to return after spring break or at t he end of summer, never to re turn, leaving those at the service site powerless to continue the rela tionship. It is clear that servicelearning activities have the potential to upset social order. Steps and


77 consideration need to be taken at the outset to reduce and reconcile the disruptions. Influxes of service-learners, while in tending to provide support services can actually cause more work for staff due to the need for supervision, background checks, and other logistics that accompany volunteers. Oftentimes, service-learning activities center on tutoring and homework help and are expected to produce increased student achi evement. However, poor student outcomes are a complex issue that can find no simply solution in service-learning tutoring. Any expectation that it c an serve as a substitute for increased education spending, parental involvement, qualified teachers, and appropriate curriculum is unrealistic and misleading. The very presence of service-learning students and their activities can actually be more of a detriment than a benefit. Agency staff may expect followup actions or may have different objectives than what the service-learning project allows for. In order to lessen the possibility, service-learning students and agency staff should be introduced to the service-learning goals, the neighborhood context, and the logistics for carrying out t he project before beginning the service activities. All par ticipants need to be aware of and agree upon the service-learning planincluding but not limited to issues of responsibility for supervision; contact information; complaint processes; resource allocation; time limits and duration; methods for dealing with unintended consequences; etc. Service-learning, community engagement, and fieldwork


78 have inherent risks. Planning and foresight can help minimize that potential and provides all participants with a plan for action in case problems do arise. Other unintended consequences can revo lve around the sharing or coopting of scarce resources. Some service sites have very few supplies, and heedless use by volunteers can leave the host agency strapped and unable to serve their clients. Using space and time can be an issue of contention, especially if only a segment of the agencys clients will receive the servicelearning student support. Likewise, cleani ng up and dealing with the aftermath of service activities can be an extra burden on agency staff that can lead to feelings of mistrust and resentment. According to Hyatt and Lyon-Callo t he greatest threat to American democracy comes not from an apathetic and disengaged citizenry but from the ever-growing complicity between the st ate and the market (2003:136). A politically engaged anthropology can addres s this connection and its effects on societyone possibility is the devel opment of an engaged, politically minded anthropological service-learning agenda. One that seeks to do more than just serve put provides the benefits of critical thinking to all participants, not only college students. An activi st service-learning model can do more than describe conditions of poverty and the global fo rces that produce unequal shares of violence and misery (Goode and Ma skovsky 2001b; Hyatt and Lyon-Callo 2003; Keene and Colligan 2004; Maskovsky and Ki ngfisher 2001). It can and should endeavor, for the advancement of hum an liberation (Keene and Colligan 2004:6). Politically engaged anthropology untangles a priori assumptions and


79 hidden subjectivities embedded in servicelearnings theoretical foundationthe assumed decline in social capital and civi c participation. The civic malaise discussion focuses on the historically whit e, male and middle class model of civic participation and social capital as the accepted norm and neglects to discuss the disenfranchisement and the barriers minorit y peoples must overcome in order to adhere to ideal. It also reveals the hidden ways that some service-learning projects, although unwittingly, contri bute to the disenfranchisement and marginalization of poor people of color. An essential prerequisite in designi ng an appropriate and activist servicelearning project is to have an understanding of what life is like for children living in Sulphur Springs. A politically engaged anthropology and methodology toolkit results in collaborative knowledge, prov iding a foundation for developing mutually beneficial projects. The process creates opportunities for dialoguediscursive spaces that promote true collaboration and partnerships. These conversations reveal the ways in which people are complic it in and resistant to neoliberal strategies that effectively disappear (Goode and Maskovsky 2001a:10) disadvantaged communities by masking state interventions and policies, which continue to advance capital over communities. A politically engaged service-learning course then seeks to impart an understanding of the processes and i deologies used to naturalize and individualize poverty through experientia l learning and traditional classroom materials. This of course, is easier said than done. Planning and implementing a service-learning course focused on social justice requires significant


80 investment on the part of all its participantsfaculty, agency staff and clients, student, and the university. Invest ments and commitments need to be established up front. Without key supports and a sustainability plan, the servicelearning benefits will be one-sided favo ring the elite institution over the disadvantaged community. Such a scenario, while on the service appears to be providing advantages, in fact continues and furthers the disappearance. Blame will continue to be placed upon the community for its inability to improvein spite of the universitys noble volunteer services. Taking a politically engaged approach to service-learning is only a first step in creating an effective mechanism fo r social change. Some hurdles are inherent in the endeavor. Others can be remedied with continued commitment to university-community engagement. An institutionalized politically engaged service-learning agenda could be one of many strategies to achieve USFs community engagement goals. A university wide service-learning program would not seek to dominate and restrict faculty and community partnerships, but work to provide resourcestraining, materials, connections, ideas, mentoring, and best practicesto both the university and comm unity partners. Preparation is the responsibility of both instit utions and there is a wide range of materials available to educate the partners of t heir responsibilities and the rules of engagement. The initial service-learning course based on my internship has had a lasting impression upon the students as ev idenced by their course evaluations and the fact that a few continued to volunteer at the Rec. Just as importantly, the Rec staff and community residents viewed the partnership as a success. Even


81 with the concerns and road bumps, Rec staff continues to request servicelearning courses and encourages increased university-community collaborations with USF. Although there has been no formal evaluation of the tutoring, youth participants found the program fun and were very proud to see their names, stories, and work in a published book. Furthermore, many remember their partners and aspire to attend USF. A few students made plans to continue visiting the Rec outside of class time and correspondence letters have been exchanged. Parents appreciated the added homework help and some even participated in the resident interviews. All things considered, service-learni ng is a progressive and encouraging strategy. However, a reliance on the volunteer labor of service-learning students alone will not provide the solution to so cietys toughest problems. No amount of tutoring, neighborhood clean-ups, or mentoring can make up for the drastic cuts in government social spending, poorly funde d school systems, lack of affordable housing, increasing costs of transportation, and low-wage employment. Social welfare policies and reforms aimed at changing poor peoples behaviors through tutoring and mentoring services provided by college volunteers do nothing to put food on the table, gas in the car, or a roof over their heads. Even if servicelearning beneficiaries gain academic ac hievement through the help of tutoring sessions, they are not guaranteed living wa ge employment in the increasingly privatized and corporatized market. While helpful and commendable, service learning projects are limited in their c apacity to create the social change required to end poverty.


82 The Rec is the only public sponsored community center in Sulphur Springs neighborhood. Although it is under funded and underutilized, it is a valuable community resource and wit h some attention and support, it could address the growing unmet needs of neighborhood residents. A service-learning program could indeed buttress the existing supports. Ther e is little doubt that the services provided through service-learning are needed and welcomed additions to a community that has felt neglec ted and ignored by the larger Tampa community. However, unless servic e-learning projects are based on ethnographic understanding and are designed to produce political action, no amount of free labor service will alleviat e or solve the neighborhoods poverty problem. It is my hope that USF broadens its commitment to universitycommunity engagement and expands its servic e-learning options. However, if USF is to be part of the solution rather than part of the pr oblem, its faculty and administration must do even more to support and adopt collaborative partnerships. These university-community relationships enable critical examinations of the processes an d ideologies that create and justify neighborhoods of need. Politically engaged anthropology provides critical theories and methods combined with sensitivity for the ethi cs of entre, or rules for engagement. A politically engaged se rvice-learning can indeed teach students and neighbors to lear n by doing with the hopes that new strategies and possibilities be discovered to counterac t the seemingly totalizing forces of neoliberal government.


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