Deborah Youdell’s work is located in the Sociology of Education and is concerned with inequalities and the ways that these are connected to subjectivities, everyday practice, pedagogy, institutional processes and education policy. Her work covers a range of categories of identity and their intersections including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, social class, ability and disability. A central concern of her work is how educators can practice in ways that interrupt educational exclusions and intervene in inequalities.
Her work is underpinned by engagements with post-structural thinking about power, the subject, space, and the political. Key theorists include Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, as well as the work of Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Her research expertise is in ethnography and action research.
Deborah is author of School Trouble: identity, power and politics in education and Impossible Bodies, Impossible Selves: exclusions and student subjectivities. She is co-author of the award-winning book Rationing Education: policy, practice, reform and equity. She is Regional Editor of the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education and is on the Editorial Boards of the British Journal of Sociology of Education, Race Ethnicity Education, and Gender and Education.
PGCert. Education Studies (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education) (Macquarie University)
PhD Sociology of Education (Institute of Education)
MA Women and Writing (University of East Anglia)
BSc Applied Social Science (University of North London)
Deborah Youdell has been a member of academic staff at the Institute of Education, the University of Cambridge and Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Before joining the School of Education at the University of Birmingham she was Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. In her early career she was an education researcher at the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the Institute of Education, University of London.
Deborah teaches on the BA Childhood, Culture and Education programme.
Deborah Youdell has wide experience of working with doctoral students and has seen a number through to speedy completion. She has supported many of her students in securing research council and other studentships and many have been published during their study and gone on to academic employment on completion. She is happy to work with prospective students developing their research proposals and is interested in supervising doctoral work across a range of concerns with substantive, theoretical, political and/or methodological intersections with her own research.
Ian McGimpsey (Institute of Education), ESRC-funded study of policy, practice and subjectivity in youth service provision
Laura Teague (Institute of Education), ESRC-funded study of pedagogy and politics in the primary classroom
Transnational Perspectives on Education for Democracy
This project is part of an ongoing collaboration with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Melbourne, and the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, (UFRGS) Brazil. This project asks fundamental questions about the meanings and practices of democracy and the possibilities for and limitations of education for democracy. It uses case study methods to offer fine-grained accounts of actual instances of education, from whole curriculum areas to localized pedagogic interventions, designed to promote and pursue democracy. These case studies are drawn from the four nations in the network, Australia, Brazil, the UK and the USA, and are interrogated using multiple theoretical frameworks in order to produce new knowledge about forms of education for democracy that are relevant trans-nationally.
Becoming Students: subjectivities in an ‘SEBD’ school
This ethnographic study explored the possibilities for and limits of recognition for boys attending a school for those diagnosed as having ‘social, emotional and behavioural difficulties’. A key feature of the work was the exploration of educators’ interventions into the exclusions and injustices that mark the education experiences of many of these students. This work is reported in a number of journal articles and is a central empirical strand on the book School Trouble: identity, power and politics in education.
No Outsiders: approaches to sexualities equality in primary schools
This ESRC research project brought academics from the University of Sunderland, University of Exeter and Institute of Education together with over 30 educators to undertake action research in primary and early years classrooms. Together the project team developed a wide range of pedagogic approaches to sexualities equality and explored the impacts and implications of these for classrooms and schools as well as wider approaches to gender and sexuality politics. This work is reported in a number of journal articles and chapters and is a central empirical strand on the book School Trouble: identity, power and politics in education.
Hidden Privatization in Public Education
This research, supported by the global teacher union Education International and the National Union of Teachers, used survey and deep internet research as well as case study methods to explore the range, nature and scale of privatization tendencies in education systems globally. The work has been taken up and responded to by many teacher unions internationally.
Regional Editor (UK), International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
Editorial Board, British Journal of Sociology of Education.
Editorial Board, Gender and Education.
Editorial Board, Race Ethnicity and Education.
College of Reviewers, Journal of Education Policy.
External Examiner, MA Gender Studies, University of Sussex.
Youdell, D. (2011) School Trouble: identity, power and politics in education, Abingdon, Routledge
Youdell, D. (2006) Impossible Bodies, Impossible Selves: exclusions and student subjectivities, Springer
Papers and chapters
Youdell, D. (2012) Fabricating ‘Pacific Islander’: Pedagogies of expropriation, return and resistance and other lessons from a ‘Multicultural Day’. Race, Ethnicity, Education, 15(2) 141-155. DOI: 10.1080/13613324.2011.569243
Youdell, D. & Armstrong, F. (2011) A politics beyond subjects: The affective choreographies and smooth spaces of schooling. Emotion, Space, Society, 4(1), 144-150.
Youdell, D. (2011) Intelligibility, agency and the raced–nationed–religioned subjects of education, in K. Bopal & J. Preston (Eds) Intersectionality and ‘race’ in Education. New York, Routledge.
Youdell, D. (2010) Pedagogies of becoming in an end-of-the-line 'special' school. Critical Studies in Education, 51(3), 313-324. DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2010.508810
Youdell, D. (2010) Queer outings: Uncomfortable stories about the subjects of post-structural school ethnography. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23(1), 87-100. DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2010.508810
Youdell, D. (2010) Recognizing the subjects of schooling: Engagements with Judith Butler, in L. Gandin, M. Apple & S. Ball (Eds) Routledge International Handbook of Sociology of Education, New York, Routledge.
Youdell, D. (2010) Performativity: making the subjects of education, in Z. Leonardo (Ed), Handbook of Cultural Politics in Education, SensePublishers.
Full publications list for Professor Deborah Youdell (PDF opens new window)