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New Labour, Social Exclusion and Educational Risk Management: the case of 'gymslip mums'

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Abstract:

This article considers New Labour's education and social exclusion policies in the light of Giddens's exposition of Third Way welfare reform. It focuses on the teenage mother policy trajectory, treating it as a case study of the gender politics of both the Third Way and of Anthony Giddens-a key Labour Government organic intellectual. The article examines how New Labour understands the risks of teenage pregnancy and motherhood and how its teenage mother policy functions as risk management in the context of redefined social justice policies. It identifies some dilemmas that arise for this policy as a result of the top-down, masculinist and moralistic orientations that surround and influence it. It offers additional insights from Australian and US research on 'youth transitions', teenage pregnancy and gender reform in schools. It highlights some of the limitations of New Labour's good policy intentions and points to matters it must consider more carefully if it is to adequately engage and assist vulnerable young women who are finding ways to survive in this age of uncertainty, redefinition and manufactured risk.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713651575

Affiliations: 1: University of South Australia 2: London Institute of Education

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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