This landmark qualitative longitudinal study of Australian secondary school students, conducted by Lyn Yates and Julie McLeod, looked at how young people shape their lives as they move through their secondary school years and into the world beyond. It explored how students negotiate school cultures and how their attitudes, dispositions, and aspirations change over the course of the secondary and adolescent years. Key themes explored were subjectivity, with a focus on gender, changing views of and relation to schooling, and sense of the future.
Undertaken over an eight-year-period from the mid 1990s, the study involved over 350 interviews over an eight year period with 26 young Australians attending contrasting co-educational schools. It revealed the effects of schooling and of local school cultures on young people’s choices, future plans, political values, friendships and attitudes toward school, work and sense of self. A significant aspect of the study was its explicit attention to methodological and theoretical challenges raised by researching processes of subjectivity over time, in interaction with schooling and social relations of differentiation and inequality.
Publications include Making modern lives: subjectivity, schooling and social change (2006) and 12 to 18: a qualitative longitudinal study of students, values and difference in Australian schools, as well as many journal articles and chapters.
McLeod, Julie and Yates, Lyn (2008) ‘Class and the middle: schooling, subjectivity and social formation’, in Lois Weis (ed) The Way Class Works. Routledge, New York, 347–62.
McLeod, Julie and Yates, Lyn (2006) Making modern lives: subjectivity, schooling and social change. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY.
McLeod, Julie and Yates, Lyn (2003) ‘Who is “us”? Students negotiating discourses of racism and national identification in Australia’,Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol.6, no.1, March, 29–49.
McLeod, Julie (2003) ‘Why we interview now: Reflexivity and perspective in a longitudinal study’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, July-September. vol.6, no.3, 201–11.
McLeod, Julie (2002), ‘Working out intimacy: Young people and friendship in an age of reflexivity’, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, vol.23, no.2, 211–26.
Yates, Lyn and McLeod, Julie, (2000) ‘Social justice and the middle’, Australian Educational Researcher, vol.27, no.3, December, 59–77.
McLeod, Julie (2000) ‘Subjectivity and schooling in a longitudinal study of secondary students’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.21, no.4, December, 501–21.