05 SES 11 A, Examining “Vulnerability” and “Fragility” in Children and Young People and their Experiences of Education
According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2018), almost 25 million children and young people in the European Union, 26 per cent of the 0-17 population, were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2016. Rates of mental and behavioural health problems among adolescents in Europe continue to increase and disadvantaged young people are much more prone to develop such issues (World Health Organisation, 2016). Estimates suggest there are at least 15 million children and young people with special educational needs in Europe. Increasingly in recent years, children and young people affected by these issues have been brought together fairly indiscriminately under the description “vulnerable”. This symposium proposes to explore new ground in examining: how the issue of “vulnerability” is being constructed in different European contexts; some of the different ways in which vulnerable children and young people are supported; how they experience education and other areas of social provision; and early findings about how the social and psychological effects of COVID-19 have magnified vulnerability and fragility.
The papers examine vulnerability at three levels: society – institution – individual, using a broadly interpretative approach and theoretical frameworks drawn from inclusive education, psychoanalysis and participatory research. It has become increasingly common to identify a “vulnerability trend” in social policy (Brown, 2015), as “vulnerable” families, children and/or groups have become the focus of a range of intervention programmes in the UK and Europe. Ecclestone (2016) has been foremost in questioning the utility and application of the term ‘vulnerable’ in a series of articles which have criticised broader definitions of vulnerability for diverting resources away from those most in need (Brown, Ecclestone and Emmel 2017). We have taken this as a starting point for examining the utility of terms like “vulnerability” and “fragility” in relation to young people and their experiences of education. Alongside analysis of contemporaneous structures and practice, these papers focus on exploring how educational administration, schools, teachers and other professionals who work with young people can best address, and reflect, the vulnerabilities of the children and young people with whom they work, as well as examining the methodological challenges of undertaking this kind of research and maximising its impact.
Research questions which have structured the research reported in this symposium include:
- How are the terms “vulnerable”, “vulnerability” and “fragility” (and their translations) applied to children and young people in different contexts?
- How have these applications affected children and young people’s experiences of education and other forms of social care and provision?
- What are “vulnerable” children and young people’s experiences of education (formally and informally) in different contexts?
Brown, K. (2015) Vulnerability and Young People: Care and Social Control in Policy and Practice. Bristol: Policy Press. Brown, K. Ecclestone, K., and Emmel, N. (2017) Review article: The many faces of vulnerability, Social Policy and Society, 16 (3): 497-510. Ecclestone, K. (2016) Behaviour change policy agendas for ‘vulnerable’ subjectivities: the dangers of therapeutic governance and its new entrepreneurs, Journal of Education Policy, 32 (1): 48-62. European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2018) Combating child poverty: an issue of fundamental rights. Luxembourg: European Union.
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
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