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Vulnerability as a precondition for resistance and agency: young women in a regional community


te Riele, K and Shelley, B, Vulnerability as a precondition for resistance and agency: young women in a regional community, Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 4 pp. 381-399. ISSN 2204-9193 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021

DOI: doi:10.1007/s43151-021-00052-6


Any terms that designate certain groups of young people as more in need of support or intervention are likely to be contested. Identification of some young people as vulnerable can lead to tensions between rights and blame and between support and stigma. This paper draws on scholarship that posits vulnerability as emerging as part of specific social and historical conditions, and as a precondition for resistance and agency. We use publicly available data and information to focus on a community in a regional area in Australia and on a specific initiative for young women in that community. In relation to conditions, we detail salient characteristics of the region: north-west Tasmania. We show how structures of social, economic, and cultural inequalities provide the context for the vulnerability of young women living here. In this community, as elsewhere in Australia and globally, national economic reforms have accentuated social and economic disadvantage. We then move on to examine a participatory arts initiative, Project O, that works with young women in this region. We outline how Project O is an example of a practical way to harness the potential of vulnerability as a starting point for both resistance and agency, through positive connections with place and identity; by enabling young women to act on their aspirations; and by developing capabilities and providing recognition.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:vulnerability, resistance, agency, regionality, participatory arts
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Continuing and community education
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)
UTAS Author:Shelley, B (Dr Becky Shelley)
ID Code:146230
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment
Deposited On:2021-08-25
Last Modified:2021-12-23

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