Dissertation Abstracts

Educating the Reflexive Citizen: Making a Difference or Entrenching Difference?

Author: Black, Rosalyn , rosalyn.black@monash.edu
Department: Melbourne Graduate School of Education
University: Melbourne University, Australia
Supervisor: Professor Johanna Wyn and Dr Ani Wierenga
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: youth , citizenship , risk , schooling
Areas of Research: Youth , Education , Risk and Uncertainty


This thesis explores the ways in which young people are constructed as reflexive citizens through their schooling and what this means for young people who are subject to structural or socioeconomic inequalities. Methodologically, the thesis draws on a critical discourse analysis of recent Australian education policy as well as case research in two Victorian government secondary schools located in low socioeconomic communities. Theoretically, the analysis is grounded in education and youth sociology, drawing on concepts of governmentality, reflexive modernity, and critical pedagogy. The thesis reveals the deep ambiguities that accompany some young people’s experience of participation as well as the contradictory forces that shape the practices of educators. It also offers some fresh ways of understanding the role of schools in enabling young people’s democratic participation as well as young people’s capacity to see themselves in enabling ways.