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Palgrave Macmillan

Education, Work and Social Change

Young People and Marginalization in Post-Industrial Britain

ISBN 9781137335920
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) is rising to alarming levels across the globe and costing the economy billions. Current government attempts at diminishing NEET levels have failed to take effect, and the NEET category remains a continuing source of hotly contested public and media interest.

This book is based upon a longitudinal study of the lives of a set of young people in the north of England classified as NEET, or at risk of becoming NEET. Drawing on ethnographic data from over two years of fieldwork funded by The Leverhulme Trust, it looks beyond dominant political and media discourses on NEET young people to provide a rich, detailed account of young people's experiences on the margins of education and employment in post-industrial Britain.

Education, Work and Social Change uses a critical materialist approach to go beyond the duality of inclusion and exclusion and re-think young people's experiences of participation and non-participation. These, it is argued, can only be fully understood through the concept of marginalization. This text provides fresh and challenging insights into the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people in the United Kingdom and concludes by highlighting the implications of this research for practitioners and policymakers; evaluating current policy initiatives and setting out a range of strategies that should be adopted by local authorities and the government for improving the lives of NEET young people.

Robin Simmons is Professor of Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning and Social Justice at the University of Huddersfield, UK. He is co-author of NEET Young People and Training for Work: Learning on the Margins.

Ron Thompson is Principal Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Huddersfield, UK. He is co-author of NEET Young People and Training for Work: Learning on the Margins.
Lisa Russell is Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education at the University of Huddersfield, UK. She is also author of Understanding Pupil Resistance – Integrating Gender, Ethnicity and Class: an Educational Ethnography.

1. Introduction

2. Poverty, Social Exclusion and Marginalisation

3. Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training

4. Researching the Lives of Marginalised Young People

5. Education, Training and Youth Employment

6. Danny's Story

7. Hailey's Story

8. Sean's Story

9. Family, Community and Welfare

10. Isla's Story

11. Saheera's Story

12. Cayden's Story

13. Conclusion


"Education, Work and Social Change is an enlightening read and would appeal to anyone interested in social policy, education and youth employment." - LSE Review of Books
"This book is a delight to read. Simmons, Thompson and Russell have produced a text that is both empirically grounded and theoretically informed. The case studies of the young people interviewed provide a moving authenticity. The authors confirm the message of several previous studies in this area. The problems of youth marginalisation lie in the intersection of the structural and personal. This is sociology at its best, as C. Wright Mills put it, at the junctions of history and biography and of private troubles and public issues. It should be read by all politicians, journalists, youth workers and students seeking to understand some of issues surrounding marginalised young people." - Dr Ian Finlay, Oxford University Department of Education, UK
"Unlike populist and politically-driven perspectives on young people's lives that portray them as unmitigated 'bundles of pathologies', this book goes beyond conventional explanations and gets up close to young lives. Rather than presenting these young people as 'troublesome', disengagement is revealed as being a much more complex amalgam of poverty, neighbourhood conditions, changing labour markets, a training fallacy, and policy dysfunction. Thus construed, this book provides a refreshing view of re-engagement as being fundamentally about the reclamation of hope. A most enjoyable read!" - John Smyth, Research Professor of Education, Federation University Australia and co-author of Living on the Edge: Rethinking Poverty, Class and Schooling
"A real strength of this book lies in how it successfully connects the experiences of marginalised young people with the profound impact that the wider economic and social context has upon their attitudes and behaviours. It provides a well constructed intellectual framework within which to interpret and understand the lives of marginalised young people, something which is hugely valuable to both policy makers and practitioners alike. The use of longitudinal case studies, which place the voices and experiences of young people seldom heard at their centre, enables the reader to gain a real understanding of the struggles experienced by marginalised young people in an effort to gain some control over their own lives and destinies, in the face of what are deeply unequal economic and social contexts. The evidence provided by the case studies represents a powerful challenge to dominant policy discourses around worklessness, employability and participation. Its findings and conclusions are challenging, particularly in relation the question of whether participation in education or employment will in and of itself necessarily lead to meaningful advancement for marginalised young people. This well structured, accessible and thought provoking book makes an extremely valuable contribution to developing a fuller understanding of the lives, contexts, challenges and opportunities facing marginalised young people and should be widely read by both those who shape policy and who work directly with marginalised young people." - Sara Boyce, Policy Co-ordinator, Include Youth, Belfast, UK
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