Professor Deborah Youdell discussed how ‘disadvantage-disorder’ is assembled in policy, institutional and professional practice, expert knowledge, popular media, and everyday life. She considered the consequences of this assemblage and the politics that might follow from it. To do so, she brings together two strands of her current research. First, a study of youth employment interventions in collaboration with Dr Ian McGimpsey (University of Birmingham) where she explores how public services are being transformed under austerity government. Secondly, a project in which she has collaborated with molecular biologist Dr Martin Lindley, (University of Loughborough) bringing post-structural theories of the subject and new biological sciences into a dialogue to interrogate and develop new education research agendas.
Deborah Youdell is Professor of Sociology of Education and Director of the Public Service Academy at the University of Birmingham. Her work explores how inequalities are connected to everyday practices, pedagogy, subjectivities, institutional processes and policy, spanning issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, social class, ability and disability. A central concern of her work is how educators can practice politically to intervene in inequalities. Her work is underpinned by engagements with post-structural thinking about power, the subject, space, and the political, particularly the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, as well as Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. She is author of School Trouble: Identity, Power and Politics in Education and Impossible Bodies, Impossible Selves: Exclusions and Student Subjectivities. She is co-author (with David Gillborn) of the award-winning book Rationing Education: Policy, Practice, Reform and Equity.