Kathy Edwards is a Senior Lecturer in the Youth Work Program.

Kathy completed her PhD in Political Science at UNSW. Her thesis discussed the body in feminist theory and policy with a focus on theories of identity and power in the context of prostitution, pornography and abortion. This drew upon both an exploration of the history of political theory with a view to understanding how it informed modern feminist perspectives and her activist work for the rights of sex workers and for women’s reproductive freedoms.

Between 2000 and 2002 she was a Research Associate on an ARC Linkage between the University of Sydney and the NSW Premier’s Department investigating the contemporary state of gender equity in the NSW Public Sector.

Between 2003 and 2006 Kathy was a Senior Research Associate on the Youth Electoral Study, an ARC Linkage between the Australian Electoral Commission, the Australian National University and the University of Sydney. This project examined young people’s electoral and political perspectives and participation. Following this she was employed as a Senior Research Associate in Childhood and Youth Studies at the University of Sydney.

Kathy has published on a range of topics relating to young people’s electoral and political participation. In particular, she has questioned that young people can or should simply be ‘educated’ towards participatory virtues through Civics and Citizenship education. Instead, she has situated this participation in a broader policy context, considering the effects of neoliberal employment, welfare and housing policies on young people’s capacity to participate. She has argued that whilst young people are chastised for a lack of participatory and civic virtue that the state effectively places barriers to their political engagement. In investigating social inclusion she has argued that social inclusion needs to be rigorously interrogated because it runs the risk either being an empty policy vessel or one that supports neoliberal policies that detrimentally affect young people.

Her most recent, collaborative, work has involved a systematic review of the literature on Civic Education, with a view towards examining tangible behavioural outcomes. Here, the conclusion has been that the evidence shows that Civic Education has a negligible effect on most standard indicators of normative political participation.

Kathy’s collaborative work on prostitution and sex-trafficking involves comparing policy in Australia and particularly the State of Victoria, with that of Sweden.

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Youth sociology, Youth policy, Youth studies, Youth work, Feminist theory, Feminism, Women/gender and policy, Political participation and social movements, Prostitution and sex-trafficking, Young people and gloablization

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