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ACYS Publications

YSA March09 cover, tiny version

Youth Studies Australia
Each issue of our journal contains up to six research- and practice-based articles on Australian youth. View the contents pages.

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Popular texts of interest to youth studies and sociologyá include Youth subcultures; Ethnic minority youth in Australia; Sounds of then, sounds of now: Popular music in Australia, and more.

Sounds of then, sounds of now: Popular music in Australia, tiny version

Youth subcultures cover, tiny version

Youth Studies Australia

Regular columns


Reviews of youth-related books and resources

Case management for community practice
Ed. Elizabeth Moore
Oxford University Press
2009; AUD$79.95
ISBN: 9780195562149, 448pp.

Book review, Case management

This review, by Anne Hugo, first appeared in Youth Studies Australia, v.28, n.1, 2009 (p.3).

This is an interdisciplinary text about the theory and practice of case management -- an inherent aspect of human services management today -- and is intended for students, practitioners and program managers in the human services. Its editor, Elizabeth Moore (a lecturer in social work and human services and course coordinator of social welfare at Charles Sturt University's School of Humanities and Social Sciences), has practical experience in the juvenile justice system of NSW, while the other 25 contributors represent a wide spectrum of professions, including, among others, the welfare, volunteer, health, mental health, child protection and disability sectors. The book takes a scholarly approach to case management, with topics ranging from the theory of case management and its policy methods to a variety of fields of practice. It encourages readers to be experimental and reflective in their work, and aims 'to provide concepts, knowledge and resources that can increase practitioner confidence, autonomy, innovation, critique and reflective practice' (Preface, p.xviii). Although intended primarily for students of human services engaged in vocational or in-service training, it is also useful for those interested in furthering their own professional development, as well as policymakers, managers and researchers.


Youth health and welfare: The cultural politics of education and wellbeing
Johanna Wyn
Oxford University Press
2009; AUD$59.95
ISBN: 9780195560466, 162pp.

Youth health and welfare by J Wyn

This review, by Anne Hugo, first appeared in Youth Studies Australia, v.28, n.1, 2009 (p.3).

The research* informing this book could easily have overwhelmed its contents, but, instead, this is an eloquent text. Prof. Johanna Wyn, director of the Youth Research Centre and leader of the Education, Equity and Social Change cluster in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, has a bird's eye view of the policy frameworks that surround young people's lives. She navigates the territory of institutional processes and theoretical concepts, explaining them and the wider context with an ease born of years of experience conducting well-respected longitudinal studies on youth.

Wyn shows how our thinking about solutions -- whether in the form of approaches, techniques, measures or programs -- needs to be informed directly by young people themselves.

'Young people's stories are scarcely visible within the literature on initiatives that promote young people's wellbeing and address their health problems. Although there are exceptions ... most discussions of responses, treatments and initiatives focus almost exclusively on organisational issues ... While the focus on programs rather than on the young people does provide useful descriptions of particular approaches, it does little to show how different young people's complex needs are being met' (p.36). In this book, we certainly hear from young people as they 'experience' the approaches, policies and frameworks brought to bear upon their 21st century lives.

This book subtly challenges all assumptions about youth transitions, youth health and wellbeing and youth participation -- the author's core research interests. It challenges the outmoded notion of 'youth' as needy, vulnerable, at risk and not quite adult.

Wyn examines the discourse on youth, as well as the theoretical underpinnings of the institutions that serve them. She argues for cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary approaches, but points out these often fail because of short-sighted funding arrangements that are 'additional' or peripheral to the project concerned (p.52).

Wyn's central argument is that our ageing institutions, based as they are on 'systems, structures and ideas that served the industrial society of Australia in the 1950s' (p.143), are inadequate 'guides' for youth through an increasingly complex world. Those institutions, and the received wisdom of approaches such as the 'prevention and early intervention' approach (p.35) -- indeed, all we believe about 'youth' -- is placed on a continuum of institutional and sectoral approaches to youth issues, with the biomedical approach at one extreme and the workbench of programs that engage with youth at the other. To be effective, these approaches, as well as programs, curricula and interventions, must change to keep pace with the new modernity of young people's lived experience. Both a cry from the very heart of youth research and a bold overview of where we are at, this book is useful for students and policymakers alike.

* The book is informed by ARC-funded research, including: Pathways then and now: New student transitions to adulthood in a comparative context (2005-09); Youth civic participation in social connection in post-industrial society (2005-07).

Note: A paper by Johanna Wyn titled 'The changing context of Australian youth and its implications for social inclusion' is published in this edition of Youth Studies Australia (pp.46-50).

Issues of our time
Edited by Helen Sykes Future Leaders 2008
ISBN: 9780980332018, 192pp.

Book review, Image of our time

This review, by Anne Hugo, first appeared in Youth Studies Australia, v.28, n.1, 2009 (p.4).

Each year, Future Leaders, a national initiative to foster effective leadership qualities in youth, publishes a volume of essays on significant issues in our society today. This publication affords winners of the Future Leaders annual essay competition for Year 12 students the rare opportunity of appearing cheek-by-jowl with leading Australian thinkers. The 2008 collection, titled Issues of our time, presents essays on climate change (Ian Lowe), children (Fiona Stanley), democracy (David Yencken), discrimination against Indigenous Australians (Larissa Behrendt), higher education (Glyn Davis), housing (Julian Disney), sexuality (Michael Kirby) and bioethics (Max Charlesworth) along with fiction and non-fiction by 18 young writers. The young writers' essays, selected from the 2007 Future Leaders Writers Prize and Climate Writing Award, and judged by a wide range of Australian writers, grapple with depression, racism, homelessness, nuclear waste and the war on terror. Series editor Helen Sykes is President of the Trust for Young Australians, and founder of Future Leaders. May the messages of hope and food for thought that this slim book provides lead to productive and positive change.

A free copy of this book is available for every school. For further information, email Helen Sykes: [email protected] or visit

International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and the Media

Book review, clearinghouse on media

This review, by Anne Hugo, first appeared in Youth Studies Australia, v.28, n.1, 2009 (p.4).

Formed in 1997 by the Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research (Nordicom), and financed by the Swedish government and UNESCO, this clearinghouse has an enviable publication record. The publications Empowerment through media education: An intercultural dialogue (2008) and Mediated crossroads: Identity, youth culture and ethnicity. Theoretical and methodological challenges (2008) (pictured) both draw their content from international events in 2007 and explore media issues in relation to 'big picture' subjects, such as diaspora cultures, identity, migration and public space.

African media, African children (2008), the first of the clearinghouse's yearbooks to concentrate on one region, aims to 'de-Westernise' research agendas and bring 'fresh, unexpected insights' into our debates on media and youth.

Other recent yearbooks include:
  • Children, media and consumption: On the front edge (2007)
  • In the service of young people? Studies and reflections on media in the digital age (2006)
  • Young people, soap operas and reality TV (2004)
  • Promote or protect? Perspectives on media literacy and media regulations (2003)
  • Children, young people and media globalisation (2002)
  • Outlooks on children and media (2001).

Youth work process, product and practice: Creating an authentic curriculum in work with young people
Jon Ord
Russell House Publishing 2007; UKú19.95
ISBN: 9781905541119, 130pp.

Book review, John Ord on youth work

This review, by Anne Hugo, first appeared in Youth Studies Australia, v.28, n.1, 2009 (p.4).

Despite its UK context, with its own curriculum debate and challenging seismic shifts in policy towards youth work services, Australian youth work practitioners and lecturers will find this book a useful explication of the background issues and theories of and approaches to youth work, both contemporary and historic. John Ord brings contemporary youth work practice -- and, importantly, theory -- clearly into focus, using the literature of philosophy, educational psychology, sociology, management and politics, along with recent UK local authority curriculum documents. Ord argues convincingly that the very foundations of youth work practice are firmly grounded in the educational process of learning, and that youth work curricula are unique and specific to sound youth work practice. As a senior lecturer in the Department of Community and Youth Studies at the University College of Plymouth's College of St Mark and St John, and with over 20 years' youth work experience in voluntary and statutory services both as a trainer and as a youth services manager, John Ord is an authentic voice in the youth field. His article, 'Curriculum for youth work: The experience of the English youth service', appeared in the previous edition of Youth Studies Australia (v.27, n.4, 2008, pp.16-24).