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Burnt by Democracy: Youth, Inequality and the Erosion of Civic Life

Professor Jacqueline Kennelly, director of Urban Youth Research, will be presenting a seminar on youth, democracy and political participation on the 29th of June, hosted by The Centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI).

Drawing on her most recent book, Professor Jacqueline (Jackie) Kennelly explores how democracy is lived and understood by young people, with exemplars from both ends of the spectrum of political engagement to illustrate the contours of liberal democracies after forty years of neoliberalism.

Narrating the growth of wealth inequality within each liberal democratic country in the study, Burnt by Democracy traces the political ascendance of neoliberalism and its effects on youth, both materially and symbolically. With significant cuts to social and affordable housing, increases in the individual costs of higher education, and the transformation and erosion of state benefits systems, the book makes a distinct argument about the damage to democracy under neoliberalism and the role of young people within it.

Importantly, Kennelly argues that democracy’s decline and the erosion of civic life are not occurring because young people are apathetic, or focused on informal politics, or unaware of their civic duties. Rather, this is occurring because of our deep collective misunderstanding about how democracy is actually structured, how individuals learn to participate, and how growing wealth inequality and welfare state retrenchment has undermined the capacity of those at the bottom to meaningfully participate in democratic processes that might improve their conditions and those of their families.

This event has been organised by REDI's Diversity and Social Justice in Education research theme.

You can attend the seminar in-person at Deakin Downtown (Docklands) or online (via Zoom).

Date and time:

Thu, 29 Jun 2023 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM AEST


Deakin Downtown, 727 Collins Street #tower 2 level 12 Melbourne, VIC 3008 Australia



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