Dr Kathy Edwards
Global, Urban and Social Studies
+(61 3) 9925 8260
Design & Social Context
Kathy Edwards is a Senior Lecturer in the Youth Work Programme within the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning. She teaches in a range of courses across the programme, including Knowing Young People, Youth Work Ethics and Professionalism, Legal and Justice Issues for Young People, Youth Policy and Youth Studies and Social Action. She also supervises students in honours and other research.
In addition Kathy researches young people and multiple aspects of participation (electoral, political, social, community), social inclusion and youth policy. Her most recent work concentrates on a rigorous analysis of social inclusion policy frameworks and their conceptual underpinnings as well as the emotional dimensions of young people’s political participation.
As a long time social activist Kathy brings a strong commitment to social justice for all, especially young people, to her teaching and research. She also focuses on bridging the gap between theory and practice, exploring social issues using a theoretical lens and using theory to contextualise, illustrate and explain social issues. In her teaching she is committed to active learning and on imparting broader-based skills such as critical thinking and the ‘how to’ as well as the ‘what’ aspects of learning.
Prior to her appointment at the RMIT Kathy held a variety of teaching and research positions at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the University of Sydney and the University of South Australia.
BA University of Adelaide 1988
BA (Hons) (Politics) University of Adelaide 1989
PhD UNSW (Political Science) 2000
Kathy is a member of the Australian Research Alliance for Childhood and Youth (ARACY).
Research and Scholarship
Kathy completed her PhD in Political Science at UNSW. Her thesis discussed the body in feminist theory and policy with a focus on theories of identity and power in the context of prostitution, pornography and abortion. This drew upon both an exploration of the history of political theory with a view to understanding how it informed modern feminist perspectives and her activist work for the rights of sex workers and for women’s reproductive freedoms. Between 2000 and 2002 she was a Research Associate on an ARC Linkage between the University of Sydney and the NSW Premier’s Department investigating the contemporary state of gender equity in the NSW Public Sector.
Between 2003 and 2006 Kathy was a Senior Research Associate on the Youth Electoral Study, an ARC Linkage between the Australian Electoral Commission, the Australian National University and the University of Sydney. This project examined young people’s electoral and political perspectives and participation. Following this she was employed as a Senior Research Associate in Childhood and Youth Studies at the University of Sydney.
Kathy has published on a range of topics relating to young people’s electoral and political participation. In particular she has questioned that young people can or should simply be ‘educated’ towards participatory virtues through Civics and Citizenship education. Instead she has situated this participation in a broader policy context, considering the effects of neoliberal employment, welfare and housing policies on young people’s capacity to participate. She has argued that whilst young people are chastised for a lack of participatory and civic virtue that the state effectively places barriers to their political engagement. Her most recent work draws upon the feminist realisation that the personal and political are linked and also on recent sociological investigations of emotions. It considers the subjective, personal and emotional dimensions of political participation amongst young people.
Kathy is also interested in the emerging social inclusion agenda in Australia and its potential for young people. In her published work she argues that social inclusion needs to be rigorously interrogated because it runs the risk either being an empty policy vessel or one that supports neoliberal policies that detrimentally affect young people.
Research Associate - the Gender Equity in Public Institutions Project (University of Sydney)
Senior Research Associate - Youth Electoral Study (University of Sydney)
Investigator - Australian Youth Work Education: Curriculum Renewal and A Model for Sustainability for Nice Professions. Project Funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.
Kathy is interested in supervising honours and higher degree students in topics that are related to youth sociology, youth policy, youth studies, studies in youth work, feminist theory and politics, women and policy, political participation and social movements, prostitution and sex-trafficking.
Honours theses supervised:
The Primary Parliament Project: An Investigation of Students' Attitudes Towards their School
Which model of legislation most effectively addresses the demand aspect of sex trafficking in comparing Sweden (viewing prostitution as ‘exploitation’) and Victoria (viewing prostitution as ‘sex work’)
Publications (selection only)
(with L. Saha, and M. Print) (2007) Youth and Political Participation Rotterdam: Sense Publishers
(Forthcoming, March 2012) "Political Socilaisation" in Smith, R., Vromen, A. and Cook, I. (eds) Contemporary Politics in Australia: Theories,Practices and Issues Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
(2007) “Force Us to Be Free! The Motivations of Australian School Students for Compulsory Enrolment and Voting” Chapter in Youth and Political Participation (with L. Saha and M. Print) Rotterdam: Sense Publishers
(2011) (With Carson, L.) "Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: What are the Problems Represented to be? A Discursive Analysis of Law and Policy in Sweden and Victoria, Australia" Australian Feminist Law Journal 34, pp. 63-87.
(2010) "Social Inclusion: Is This a Way Forward For Young People and Should We Go There?" Youth Studies Australia 29, 2, pp. 16-24.
(2009) "Disenfranchised Not 'Deficient': How the (Neoliberal) State Disenfranchises Young People" Australian Journal of Social Issues Volume 44, Issue 1; Autumn 2009; 23-37.
(2008) “Social Inclusion and Youth Participation: A New Deal for Australia’s Young People?” Youth Studies Australia 27, 2, June 2008 pp. 11-17
(2007) “From Deficit to Disenfranchisement: Reframing Youth Political Participation Journal of Youth Studies 10,5 pp. 539-556
(2005) “Australia’s Democratic Report Card: Young People Assess Democracy in Australia” Democratic Audit of Australia, Australian National University, Canberra (with L. Saha and M. Print)
Refereed Conference Papers
(2009) "Beyond the Blame Game: Examining ‘The Discourse’ of Youth Participation in Australia" Proceedings, 2009 TASA Conference, Australian National University, December 2009
(2006) “Young People and Democratic Rights, Discrimination and Disadvantage” Australasian Political Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Newcastle, September 2006
(2006) “Youth, Democracy and Social Change” Queensland University of Technology Conference on Social Change, QUT, Brisbane, October 25th 2006
(2006) “Outside of the Mortgage Belt: Homeless Youth, Voting and Citizenship” Proceedings, 2006 TASA Conference, University of Western Australia, December 2006
(2006) “Discussing with Dad and Enrolling with Mum: Exploring the Political Division of Labour in Families” (refereed paper) Proceedings, 2006 TASA Conference, University of Western Australia, December 2006 (with L. Saha and M. Print)
Non-refereed conference papers
(2010) "Moving Beyond Political Socialisation: Young People’s Transitions to Citizenship" paper presented to The University ofSheffield Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth 3rd InternationalConference: Childhood and Youth in Transition, University of Sheffield, July 2010.
(2009) “Personal, Political and Emotional: Subjective Experiences of ‘the Political’ in the Lives of Young People” Paper presented at the 9th European Sociology Conference, Lisbon, September 2009
(2009) "Personal, Political and Emotional: Subjective Experiences of ‘the Political’ in the Lives of Citizens" Paper Presented at the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR) Conference, Potsdam, September 2009
“Youth Political Participation and Voting: New Perspectives for Research” Paper presented at the 8th European Sociology Association Conference, Glasgow, September 2007
“The Emperor’s New Clothes: Discussing and Reconfiguring Discourses of Youth Participation Through Voting” Paper presented at the European Consortium of Political Research Conference, Pisa, Italy, September 2007
“From Deficit to Disenfranchisement: Rethinking Youth Electoral Participation” Paper presented at the Australian Social Policy Conference, UNSW July 11-13 2007
“Democratic Disadvantage and Discrimination: Voting and Human Rights in Australia” Paper presented at the Different Futures: International Conference on Young People, Risk, Resilience and Resistance, Glasgow, September 2006
“The Yes Project: Dimensions of Youth Participation in Australia” Paper presented to the 2005 European Consortium of Political Research Conference, Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary, September 8-10 2005
The YES Project: Fourth Report Youth, Political Parties and the Intention to Vote 2007 (with L. Saha and M. Print)
The YES Project: Third Report Youth, The Family and Learning About Politics and Voting 2006 (with L. Saha and M. Print)
The YES Project: Second Report Youth, Political Engagement and Voting 2005 (with L. Saha and M. Print)
The YES Project: First Report Enrolment and Voting 2004 (with L. Saha and M. Print)
All available from: http://www.aec.gov.au/About_AEC/Publications/youth_study/index.htm
Submission to the 2008 National Employment Standards Public Consultation (On eldercare)
Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters on Matters Concerning the 2008 Federal Election (on the effect of the early closure of the electoral rolls on young people)