Exclusion by design: Uncovering systems of segregation and ‘ghettoization’ of so-called NEET and ‘disengaged’ youth on an employability course in a further education (FE) college

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At first glance, the physical design of a setting ostensibly seems routine and neutral. However, it tends to powerfully govern who goes where and who can access certain places. Much of the literature on exclusion within education settings often overlook this significance. This paper therefore seeks to rectify this by examining exclusion by design and allocation of physical space at The Site, a fictional name used for the large general further education (FE) college in England’s East Region. Adopting a case study approach over two academic years (2013–2015), qualitative research was undertaken with seven tutors and twenty-six so-called NEET and disengaged youth. Drawing on Wacquant’s theoretical concept of the ghetto, my key findings demonstrated territorial exclusion by design: this employability course was delivered in Q-Block, a temporary prefabricated building positioned out of sight and primarily used to deliver programmes for disabled, mature and disengaged youth on the fringes of education. This article concludes that, whilst existing research on policy and outcomes is useful in understanding the negative educational outcomes of stigmatised youth, a sharper focus is needed on wider social processes and exclusionary continuities in seeking to elucidate how governance processes contribute to their social and spatial marginalisation in education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-472
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number4
Early online date25 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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