05 SES 07, Marginality and Exclusion
This paper explores the narratives of at-risk youth with the aim of uncovering understandings of in- and exclusion of school.
The paper seeks to answer the following research question: "How can an exploration of alternative contexts enlighten the professional work with at-risk-youth in a school setting?
The study that the paper draws on is a research study concerning the role of professional practice in working with expanding the participatory possibilities in school among at-risk youth and hence creates more equality of opportunity. In relation to that, the study asks how increased awareness of and knowledge about the social and academic life of at-risk youth can contribute to successful, professional work with social and academic inclusion of at-risk youth. The study applies three perspectives: the professional perspective, the institutional perspective and the youth perspective - the aim of this paper is to present the youth perspective.
The point of departure of this paper is hence the narratives of at-risk youth, and how these narratives, that center around different experiences of both in- and exclusion, as well as on different social and physical settings and their abilitiy to create in- and exclusion.
Narrative theory can in this context contribute to a double perspective: on the one hand it creates awareness of the experiences of the youth in question, and on the other hand it provides us with an insight into the cultural and social narratives embedded in these personalized narratives (Horsdal 1999, 2017).
Generally one can argue that the narrated biographies never depict a 'true story', but at best represent a selective reconstruction of a lived life, and more often are used in order for the narrator to identify himself and his worldviews (Jackson, Michael 2013). In that regard one could ask, which role biographical narratives play in sociological research? The idea here is that through the narrators voice (however 'true' or 'false' it may be), it gives us access to a certain understanding of culture and institutional practices. And since the narrator represents a certain societal representation, a certain societal position, it becomes possible to understand societal obstacles and possibilities viewed from that certain position. According to Daniel Bertaux, biographical narratives can be understood as ”sources of light on the social contexts, aiming at uncovering their socio-cultural patterns” (Bertaux 2003), with which he says that these systematically chosen narratives contribute with more than mere knowledge on the specific lived life of the narrator. In other words, the narrative approach can help us to understand how the narrator in question narrates himself into a context.
In other words, the narrative approach provides us with a possibility of grasping the relationship between the subjective narrative and the cultural narrative, as well as an insight into the complex processes and positonings of the construction of in- and exclusion
The empirical methods of the study that forms the base of this paper, is largely centered in the narrative tradition. Biographical, narrative interviews have been carried out with 20 at-risk youth who are at an age where they ought to have completed lower secondary (mandatory school attendance in Denmark), but for one reason or another have not. The youth have been recruited through what is known as transitional programs, programs that provide alternative learning environments for at-risk youth who have not completed mandatory schooling. The programs differ in pedagogy, objectives and in target group, but are all established in order to create new entryways into higher education. Choosing transitional programs as a gate keeper to at-risk youth has the advantage that the youth in question all have experienced exclusionary practices in school, all have failed to complete a mandatory program and all potentially face exclusion from the work market and society in general, thereby encapturing the target group for the study. Furthermore, recruiting youth who have already lived the experiences that are the focus of the interview study makes sense in relation to the narrative method, where retrospectivity plays an important part in the construction of the narration (Canger 2008). By recruiting through transitional programs, the dialectic of the perception of the youth and the perception of those who have deemed the youth 'in' or 'out' also becomes apparent; in other words, the narrations of the youth may not necessarily contain narratives on potential marginalization, but the institutional understanding of these youths is exactly that of marginalization. In that sense, by including the voices of the youth whom are, by others, understood as marginalized, it becomes possible to develop refined understandings of marginalization. The interviews have by and large followed the guidelines developed by Fritz Schütze (Schütze 2014) falling in 3 phases: 1) the uninterrupted narratives of the person being interviewed, 2) the following up on issues raised by the person being interviewed, and 3) co-reflections, hereby securing the agency of the interviewed person.
Embedded in the narratives of school and mirrored in the narratives of other contexts lies an understanding of a school system that rigidly tends to standardize and seek to normalize, in their attempt to include.However, when given access to the complexity of the life histories of the youth in question, it becomes apparent that this strategy is counterproductive, as they, themselves, have answers to how they wish to be met, og and how they, when met with trust, understanding and flexibility, actually succeed in what they do. In the narratives of leisure activities, after-school jobs and in the narratives of the transitional school program, the youth in question depict themselves as competent and able, but are also met with an understanding that reflects above-mentioned attitude. So in conclusion, the need for understanding the complexity of the life histories of marginalized youth becomes urgent, if the ambition of making access to higher education a question of promoting equality.
Bertaux. Daniel (2003) Flares and Fireworks. Unpublished Paper Canger, Tekla (2008) Mellem minoritet og majoritet - et ikke-sted. Roskilde Universitetsforlag Horsdal, Marianne (1999) Livets Fortællinger. Borgens Forlag Horsdal, Marianne (2017) Tilværelsens Fortællinger. Hans Reitzels Forlag Jackson, Michael (2013) Between One and One Another. University of California Press Jackson, Michael (2013b) The Politics of Storytelling. Museum Tusculanum Press Gørlich, Anne (2016) Poetic inquiry: understanding youth on the margins of education. International Journal of Qualitative Research in Education Henriksen, Ann-Karina (2013) Dramatiske liv. Ph.D. - afhandling fra Institut for Samfund og Globalisering Quvang, Christian (2009) Jeg ville hellere have været i en anden bog. Ph.d-dissertation Syddansk Universitet Schütze, Fritz (2014) Autobiographical Accounts of War Experiences. An Outline for the Analysis of Topically Focused Autobiographical Texts. Qualitative Sociology Review. 10(1):224-283.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.