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Youth ‘at risk’: further marginalizing the marginalized?


te Riele, K, Youth at risk': further marginalizing the marginalized?, Journal of Education Policy, 21, (2) pp. 129-145. ISSN 0268-0939 (2006) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2006 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/02680930500499968


Youth ‘at risk’ is the currently favoured label used in Australian policy for youth whose educational outcomes are considered too low, with an emphasis on the risk of not completing senior secondary education. Although some research has identified factors contributing to this risk as stemming from complex interactions between individual and family circumstances as well as characteristics of schools and society, policy identification of youth ‘at risk’ has tended to simplistically focus on personal attributes of young people. Moreover, this identification has set up a false distinction between a supposed problematic minority versus a ‘normal’ majority. Thus, the dominant conceptualization of youth ‘at risk’ draws attention to what is wrong with these youth, rather than to what may be wrong with schooling. This paper examines both empirical observations and discursive conceptualizations to critique the ‘youth at risk’ label, and proposes use of the concept of ‘marginalized students’ instead, which identifies individuals not through their personal characteristics but through their relationship with schooling. This approach allows recognition that marginalization is at least in part a product of schools and society, and requires action in those arenas.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:education, education policy, at risk youth, marginalised youth
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education policy, sociology and philosophy
Research Field:Education policy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Equity and access to education
UTAS Author:te Riele, K (Professor Kitty te Riele)
ID Code:113844
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:94
Deposited By:Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment
Deposited On:2017-01-24
Last Modified:2017-05-23

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