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New Book - The children of Rogernomics: A neoliberal generation leaves school


The book is about 93 young New Zealanders who grew up during the economic and social reforms of the 1980s and 1990s (often referred to as Rogernomics). Participants were interviewed in their final year of high school and again 12–18 months later. The book’s focus is the identity work of these young people. The book connects the stories of young people with the wider social and economic story of NZ during the last three decades. Young people’s own voices are woven together with theoretical analysis to show how participants worked and re-worked the possibilities, opportunities and constraints of their times.

Between 2003 and 2007, the authors investigated what life was like for 93 young people coming to adulthood in New Zealand in the wake of Rogernomics. Participants were interviewed in their final year of high school and again 12–18 months later. This book is the result. The lives of these young people are brought into sharp focus revealing the powerful effects of neoliberal ideas. Their stories show how neoliberalism obscures the structural basis of inequalities and insists that failure to achieve a straightforward transition from school to tertiary education to employment is the result of personal inadequacy. Institutions drawing on neoliberal ideas create additional barriers for the groups for whom inequality matters most – young Pasifika and Māori, and young working-class women and men. The stories are authentic and hard-hitting. Importantly, they also show how ordinary lives can be inspirational, as young people attempt to work and re-work the possibilities, opportunities and constraints of their times.


About the Authors

Karen Nairn is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago College of Education; Jane Higgins is a senior researcher at Lincoln University; Judith Sligo is a research fellow at the University of Otago Dunedin Multi-disciplinary Health and Development Research Unit.


Foreword, Johanna Wyn / Acknowledgements / 1. Growing up in neoliberal times / 2. Identity: a project of the self / 3. Research tools / 4. Beginning post-school transitions / 5. Great expectations / 6. Performing collective identities / 7. Spirituality as a resource / 8. Young people re-creating / 9. Children of the market? / 10. Culturally intelligible femininities and masculinities / 11. Transition interrupted: young mothers / 12. Unfolding plans / 13. Crafting identities / References / Index




Tags: ["youth", "economics", "public policies", "identities", "child research", "New Zealand"] By Judith Sligo, Jane Higgins, Karen Nairn
Published Oct. 23, 2012 11:47 AM - Last modified Apr. 17, 2013 3:50 PM