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‘Hanging in with Kids’ in Tough Times

Engagement in Contexts of Educational Disadvantage in the Relational School


John Smyth, Barry Down and Peter McInerney

This book brings a unique, innovative and refreshing perspective to one of the most protracted issues affecting young lives – disengagement from schooling. Rather than continuing to blame young people, as most educational policies do, this book examines disengagement from the vantage point of the lives, experiences, interests and aspirations of the communities from which young people come, and within which they are embedded. It uses a narrative and representational approach that gives detailed insights into the wider context of poverty, class, power, relationships and identity. A major and defining hallmark of the book is the emphasis it places upon a number of ‘doings’, – including community voice, identity formation, critical work education and education policy – all of which provide a very different set of scripts with which to reinvent the institution of high school.