Reframing sociologies of young people, education, work and identity in a ‘code red’ for humanity

What sorts of innovative/disruptive theoretical, conceptual and methodological work are demanded of those who do (broadly) sociologies of young people, education, work, and identities in the current and emerging crises of capitalism, the climate, forced migrations, and conflict and extremism (what the UN Secretary General has called a ‘code red for humanity’ (Guterres 2021)? This seminar rethinks some of the fundamental premises of how we research education, work and politics in these times of wide-spread crises.

This ‘side’ event to the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology will showcase some of the most innovative and exciting Australian Research Council (ARC) funded work being undertaken at Deakin University’s Centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI) by mid-career academics who are engaging these challenges and opportunities in different ways.

Reframing how youth become workers: Identity and the politics of immaterial value

Dr David Farrugia

This paper rethinks the way that youth become workers in terms of shifts in the relationship between identity, value and citizenship in post-Fordism. Shifts in the nature of post-Fordist work, including the relationship between identity and value, and corresponding changes to the relationship between work and politics mean that we reframe the question of youth and work in terms of the way that youth and youthfulness are invoked in contestations about forms of immaterial value. These include the role of youth in the contemporary politics of ‘skills’ and a repositioning of young workers in new and poorly understood forms of political participation.

Dr David Farrugia smiles at the camera

Dr David Farrugia

David Farrugia is ARC Future Fellow in the School of Education (REDI) at Deakin University. His research agenda explores the relationship between youth identities and shifts in the nature of employment, labour and political participation.

Young people learning climate justice: Education beyond schooling through youth-led climate justice activism

Dr Eve Mayes

The radical learning at work in youth-led social movements remains under-theorised, particularly in relation to how young people are learning and educating others about climate justice beyond formal schooling. Climate justice learning exceeds conventional modes of climate change education, encompassing critical exploration of the structural entanglements of the climate crisis with colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy. This presentation synthesises what and how young people engaged in climate justice activism are learning, outside of school, through climate justice activism, in alternative sites of learning that mobilise hands, heads and hearts.

Dr Eve Mayes smiles for the camera

Dr Eve Mayes

Eve Mayes is a Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Pedagogy and Curriculum. She is currently working on the ARC DECRA project Striking Voices: Australian school-aged climate justice activism (2022-2025). This project works at the intersections of the sociology of education, sociology of youth and social movement studies.

New book: The Politics of Voice in Education

African heritage youth with refugee backgrounds: Higher education opportunities and persisting challenges

Dr Tebeje Molla

For refugees, education can provide life-changing opportunities, including resources for effective integration with destination societies, increased employability, and support for engagement in communities. In this presentation, I report on the findings of a project that investigated higher education participation among African heritage youth with refugee backgrounds (AHY-R). Many of these young people hold high aspirations for their futures and benefit from flexible pathways to HE. However, the challenges AHY-R face include early educational disadvantage, negative racial relations, and the policy invisibility of refugees. In reframing these challenges we need to expand the evaluative spaces of educational disadvantage to better address the needs of AHY-R and other marginalised groups.

Dr Tebeje Molla

Tebeje Molla is an ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, Deakin University. His research focuses on educational disadvantage and policy responses. Theoretically, his work is informed by critical sociology and a capability approach to social justice and human development.

Books being launched


5.30 pm—7.45 pm Monday 26 June 2023.


Deakin Downtown, Level 12, Tower 2 Collins Square, 727 Collins Street, Docklands, and online (Zoom).

Download instructions on getting to Deakin Downtown (PDF 608mb).


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Event 26 June 2023
Keywords: educationEmploymentEventidentitySociologiesworkyoung peopleyouth