The Theatre of Urban: Youth and Schooling in Dangerous Times.


222 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-8020-9291-5
DDC 373.18'09713541




Reviewed by Michael Ungar

Michael Ungar is an associate professor at the Maritime School of Social
Work, Dalhousie University, and a marriage and family therapist
specializing in work with high-risk youth. He is the author of Nurturing
Hidden Resilience in Troubled Youth.


Kathleen Gallagher’s study of four high schools in Toronto and New York uses ethnography to study students’ experiences in drama classes, and throughout the school environment as a whole. Gallagher combines reflective exercises with interviews to try and understand the experiences of young people in school.


The book starts with a solid endorsement from Michelle Fine, and indeed the work is strong on theory and method. This is not, however, a text for educators on the front lines of practice, but rather a sophisticated report on Gallagher’s ethnography, merged with lengthy and deep reviews of critical theory. The presentation is phenomenological, with text and observational data presented in juxtaposition to a survey of related bodies of theory. For advanced students of sociology and those interested in a critical analysis of the culture of our schools, the book has much to offer. It provides a chance, as well, to dissect the potential of drama classes as a tool for developing critical minds. The Theatre of Urban brings together postmodern theories and pedagogy in, according to Gallagher, “very potent ways.”


Gallagher, Kathleen., “The Theatre of Urban: Youth and Schooling in Dangerous Times.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,