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Freedom and reinvention : the experience of disengagement from education for young people and their educators

Dean, Charlotte


Charlotte Dean


The aims of this study were firstly to investigate the concept of disengagement with a focus on how society can be seen to problematise young people who are disengaged from mainstream education. Secondly, the study scrutinised the effects of this problematisation on young people by exploring the links between young people‟s experiences of being disengaged and their subsequent construction of their own identities as learners.

The study positions its research within three alternative education settings, each of whom cater specifically for young people disengaged from education and are all located in a city in the North of England. Young people and their educators engage in participatory visual research activities alongside informal interviews. Each individual setting's use of different pedagogies and creative activities such as art, music, environmental/nature based education and skate-park activities are also examined to identify how they are each utilised to reintegrate the young people back into education and learning.

The study found that young people, disengaged from mainstream school and now attending alternative education provision maintained a positive personal identity even though their lived experience of education has been typically negative. These young people were found to be existing as educational liminads; occupying the space between their previous school and the space in which they are planning to move into, whether that be further education or employment, but yet, they momentarily inhabit the environments of neither. They are status-less 'becomings', rather than socially fixed beings, existing in a space which, at its best provides the freedom to redefine and reconstruct themselves, ready to become the person they are capable of being, a space in which to experience the freedom for reinvention.


Dean, C. (2018). Freedom and reinvention : the experience of disengagement from education for young people and their educators. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date May 13, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Education
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Education Studies, The University of Hull
Award Date Dec 1, 2018


Thesis (3.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2018 Dean, Charlotte. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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