Missing School: Educational Engagement and Youth Transitions in Poor Neighbourhoods

  • Robert MacDonald
  • Jane Marsh


We now turn more concertedly to our own study. This is the first of seven chapters that draw on our research to explore the experiences that one set of young people had of growing up in poor neighbourhoods. Here we examine the important role of schooling in the shaping of ‘inclusionary’ and ‘exclusionary’ transitions. Education has long been recognised as a key social institution that does much to reinforce social inequalities as well as providing opportunities for some for social mobility. One of the central dilemmas for the contemporary sociology of education remains ‘whether education is really concerned with cultural reproduction (maintenance of the cultural status quo and inculcation of “societal values”) or cultural interruption (changing the social order; providing the means to new identities and challenging the conventional outcomes of education)’ (Coffey, 2001: 72). And whilst this research is not a study in the sociology of education as conventionally understood, questions about young people’s schooling are crucial to our attempt to comprehend youth transitions in this context.


Young People School Engagement Poor Neighbourhood Friendship Group Young Offender 
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Copyright information

© Robert MacDonald and Jane Marsh 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert MacDonald
    • 1
  • Jane Marsh
  1. 1.University of TeessideUK

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