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Youth ‘at risk’: further marginalizing the marginalized?

Youth ‘at risk’: further marginalizing the marginalized? 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Education Policy Taylor & Francis

Youth ‘at risk’: further marginalizing the marginalized?

Journal of Education Policy , Volume 21 (2): 17 – Mar 1, 2006
17 pages

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References (84)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1464-5106
eISSN
0268-0939
DOI
10.1080/02680930500499968
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Journal of Education PolicyTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 1, 2006

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