Class, Culture and Belonging in Rural Australian Childhoods

Frank Tate Room Melbourne Graduate School of Education Level 9, 100 Leicester Street University of Melbourne

Youth Research Centre Seminar Series 2018

How do rural children negotiate economic insecurity and difference in their everyday lives? In this talk I present Australia-based data from my new book Class, Culture and Belonging in Rural Childhoods to show how children draw on class-based ideas of moral worth, anchored in localised, racialised and gendered understandings, to negotiate financial hardship and insecurity. From cultural values around ‘hard work’ and egalitarianism, to local identities such as ‘feral’, ‘rough’, ‘rich kids’ and ‘blockie kids’, this talk will outline the central role of morality in children’s everyday efforts to navigate the precarious circumstances of the present. Based on 18 months ethnographic research with diverse children, their parents and teachers in a rural Victorian town, this data takes us deep into children’s everyday struggles to manage insecurity and belonging within a polarised economic landscape and at a time of rapid and far-reaching change in rural communities and the world at large.

Rose Butler is a postdoctoral researcher at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. Her research crosses the disciplines of Sociology, Youth Studies and Anthropology with a focus on class and culture, multiculturalism and globalisation, schooling and social change, and rural livelihoods. Her current postdoctoral project investigates the changing landscape of rural multicultures for youth. Recent publications include co-editing the Special Issue ‘Asian Migration and Education Cultures in the Anglo-Sphere’ (with Megan Watkins and Chris Ho) in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.