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Critical reflections on youth and equality in the rural context

Critical reflections on youth and equality in the rural context The last two decades have seen a significant growth of research studies concerned with young people living in rural places with a strong focus on social and economic inequalities. In these studies, equality has become a key organising principle in understanding young people's lives in settings that offer continuous social, economic, and cultural disadvantages. Drawing on a qualitative research study in a rural school in Victoria, Australia, this paper seeks to examine the ways in which young people make sense of and negotiate the challenges they encounter in their communities and in their post-secondary school transitions through two dominant discourses of equality: liberal egalitarianism and neoliberalism. These competing discourses conceptualise equality and approaches to addressing disadvantage differently. The former places the emphasis on a social approach underpinned by the idea of equality of opportunity, while the latter focuses on an individualised approach based on the notion of merit. I draw on a radical egalitarian critique by Iris Marion Young to reveal limitations from both positions and to show that adopting an individualised approach rather than a social one has significant implications for the way youth and institutions frame not only post-secondary school transitions and rural disadvantage but inequality as a whole. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Youth Studies Taylor & Francis

Critical reflections on youth and equality in the rural context

Journal of Youth Studies , Volume 17 (4): 14 – Apr 21, 2014
14 pages

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References (52)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2013 Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1469-9680
eISSN
1367-6261
DOI
10.1080/13676261.2013.844781
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The last two decades have seen a significant growth of research studies concerned with young people living in rural places with a strong focus on social and economic inequalities. In these studies, equality has become a key organising principle in understanding young people's lives in settings that offer continuous social, economic, and cultural disadvantages. Drawing on a qualitative research study in a rural school in Victoria, Australia, this paper seeks to examine the ways in which young people make sense of and negotiate the challenges they encounter in their communities and in their post-secondary school transitions through two dominant discourses of equality: liberal egalitarianism and neoliberalism. These competing discourses conceptualise equality and approaches to addressing disadvantage differently. The former places the emphasis on a social approach underpinned by the idea of equality of opportunity, while the latter focuses on an individualised approach based on the notion of merit. I draw on a radical egalitarian critique by Iris Marion Young to reveal limitations from both positions and to show that adopting an individualised approach rather than a social one has significant implications for the way youth and institutions frame not only post-secondary school transitions and rural disadvantage but inequality as a whole.

Journal

Journal of Youth StudiesTaylor & Francis

Published: Apr 21, 2014

Keywords: schooling; youth transition; equality; egalitarianism; neoliberalism; rurality

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