12 Pre-assembling Our Young: Points of Movement in Post-Austerity Ireland

  • Annelies Kamp


The chapter offers something of a post-critical reading of youth transition through and beyond secondary school towards some form of work in the context of the Republic of Ireland (Ireland). The chapter takes material-semiotic tools, media reportage and extant research to consider what I refer to as the ‘pre-assemblage’ of young people moving through, and beyond, second-level school in what appears as some kind of post-austerity context. In doing this, the chapter brings into focus actors, both distant and local, human and nonhuman, who in various ways shape and form, by subtle and not-so-subtle means, and contribute, or impede, the movement of young people beyond a primary engagement with formal education and the consequences of this for young people’s health and well-being, broadly defined.


Young People Point System Qualification Framework Irish People Youth Unemployment Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Allen, K. 2012. The model pupil who failed the test: Social policy in the Irish crisis. Critical Social Policy 32: 422–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anonymous. 2015a. Briefing: How colleges inflated points to make courses more attractive. Sunday Business Post, August 16.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2015b. Leaving Certificate results: Students being left behind in the face for CAO points. Irish Examiner, August 13Google Scholar
  4. AU, W.W. 2007. High-stakes testing and curricular control. Educational Researcher 37: 258–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. ———. 2008. Devising inequality: a Bernsteinian analysis of high-stakes testing and social reproduction in education. British Journal of Sociology of Education 29: 639–651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ———. 2009. High-stakes testing and discursive control: The triple bind for non-standard student identities. Multicultural Perspectives 11: 65–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Banks, J., and E. Smyth. 2015. ‘Your whole life depends on it’: Academic stress and high-stakes testing in Ireland. Journal of Youth Studies 18: 598–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bauman, Z. 2012. On education. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Beck, U. 1992. Risk society. Towards a new modernity. Theory, culture & society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1999. Individualization. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Beesley, A. 2015. Irish economic growth hits 7% as recovery outstrips targets. The Irish Times, December 10.Google Scholar
  12. Bell, D.N.F., and D. Blanchflower. 2010. Youth unemployment: Deja vu? Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
  13. Carney, G.M., T. Scharf, V. Timonen, and C. Conlon. 2014. ‘Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt’: Solidarity between generations in the Irish crisis. Critical Social Policy 34: 312–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Central Statistics Office. 2012. Profile 3 At work. Dublin: Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  15. Clerkin, A. 2013. Growth of the ‘Transition Year’ programme nationally and in schools serving disadvantaged students, 1992–2011. Irish Educational Studies 32: 197–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Commission, E. 2014. EU measures to tackle youth unemployment. Belgium: European Commission.Google Scholar
  17. Donnelly, K. 2015a. CAO: Points race speeding up as students chasing top jobs. Irish Independent, August 17.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2015b. Getting to the point of the new CAO scale. A quiet revolution has been going on in relation to the Leaving Certificate. Irish Independent, September 9.Google Scholar
  19. Drudy, S., ed. 2009. Education in Ireland. Challenge and change. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Edwards, R. 2011. Translating the prescribed into the enacted curriculum in college and school. Educational Philosophy and Theory 43: 38–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Eurofound. 2013. Young people and temporary employment in Europe. Brussels: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.Google Scholar
  22. European Commission. 2012. Commission staff working document accompanying the proposal for a Council recommendation on establishing a Youth Guarantee. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  23. Fenwick, T., and R. Edwards. 2010. Actor-network theory in education. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Grodsky, E., J. Warren, and E. Felts. 2008. Testing and social stratification in American education. Annual Review of Sociology 34: 385–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hannan, D., and S. Shortall. 1991. The quality of their education. School leavers’ views of educational objectives and outcomes. Dublin: Economic and Social Research Institute.Google Scholar
  26. Jeffers, G. 2011. The Transition Year programme in Ireland. Embracing and resisting a curriculum innovation. The Curriculum Journal 22: 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kamp, A., and D. Black. 2014. 3 Ply: Exploring the potential of transformative workplace learning for and by teachers. Armagh, NI: SCoTENS.Google Scholar
  28. Ladson-Billings, G. 2006. From the achievement gap to the education debt: Understanding achievement in U.S. schools. Educational Researcher 35: 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Latour, B. 1993. We have never been modern. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2007. Reassembling the social. An introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Law, J. 2009. Actor network theory and material semiotics. In The new Blackwell companion to social theory, ed. B.S. Turner. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  32. Lee, H., G. Lee, and R. Openshaw. 2013. Radical assessment and qualification reform in New Zealand: The rocky road to National Certificate of Education Achievement. World Studies in Education 14: 25–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lennox, B. 2001. Where did NCEA come from? [Online]. Wellington: New Zealand Qualifications Authority. [online]. Available from: Accessed 3 Mar 2016.
  34. Levitas, R. 2012. The just’s umbrella: Austerity and the Big Society in Coalition policy and beyond. Critical Social Policy 32: 320–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lewis, M. 2011. When Irish Eyes Are Crying. Vanity Fair. United States: Conde Naste.Google Scholar
  36. Mcauliffe, N. 2015. Fee schools dominate high-points courses. Table-topping Coláiste Eoin in Stillorgan bucks trend as one of just three non-fee-paying schools in top 10 with high progression rates. The Irish Times, December 3.Google Scholar
  37. Mccoy, S., D. Byrne, P. O’connell, E. Kelly, and C. Doherty. 2010. Hidden disadvantage? A study of the low participation in higher education by the non manual group. Dublin: Higher Education Authority.Google Scholar
  38. Mooney, B. 2015. Will the points go up or down for the CAO course you want? We list the courses that are likely to rise and those that are likely to fall. The Irish Times, August 14.Google Scholar
  39. Nichols, S.L., G. Glass, and D. Berliner. 2005. High-stakes testing and student achievement. Arizona: Arizona State University.Google Scholar
  40. Philips, D. 2003. Lessons from New Zealand’s national qualifications framework. Journal of Education & Work 16: 289–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pierre, J. 2000. Debating governance, authority, steering, and democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Scully, B. 2015. Our rigid education system is an unfair points game largely unchanged since 70s. Irish Independent, May 6.Google Scholar
  43. Smyth, E., and J. Banks. 2012. High stakes testing and student perspectives on teaching and learning in the Republic of Ireland. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability 24: 283–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smyth, E., and S. Mccoy. 2009. Investing in education: Combating educational disadvantage. Dublin: Economic and Social Research Institute.Google Scholar
  45. Standing, G. 2011. The Precariat: The new dangerous class. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  46. Strathdee, R. 2003. The qualifications framework in New Zealand: Reproducing existing inequalities or disrupting the positional conflict for credentials. Journal of Education & Work 16: 147–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Traynor, I. 2013. EU pledges E6bn to tackle youth unemployment. The Guardian, June 28.Google Scholar
  48. Triplett, C.F., and M.A. Barksdale. 2005. Third through sixth graders’ perceptions of high-stakes testing. Journal of Literacy Research 37: 237–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. UNICEF Office of Research. 2014. Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries. Florence: UNICEF Office of Research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Walshe, J. 2009. Cullen wants transition ‘doss year’ scrapped. Irish Independent, June 4.Google Scholar
  51. ———. 2015. Obsession with college entry points and university rankings will only intensify. Irish Independent, April 30.Google Scholar
  52. Walther, A. 2006. Regimes of youth transitions. Choice, flexibility and security in young people’s experiences across different European contexts. Young 14: 119–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Young, M. 2003. National qualifications frameworks as a global phenomenon: a comparative perspective. Journal of Education & Work 16: 223–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. ———. 2005. National qualifications frameworks: Their feasibility for effective implementation in developing countries. In Focus Programme on Skills, Knowledge and Employability. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annelies Kamp
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations