Troubled kids? Locational disadvantage, opportunity structures and social exclusion

Jennifer Skattebol, Gerry Redmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Young people growing up in poverty often have restricted access to out-of-school enrichment activities that are important for generating the soft skills that support post-school transitions. This paper compares young Australians’ accounts of their opportunity structures – their engagement with enrichment activities, their post-school aspirations, and their knowledge of routes to achieve them – in two suburb types – improver suburbs (close to the median on many indicators) and isolate suburbs (severely disadvantaged on most indicators). While young people in improver suburbs felt able to access facilities and networks in equally or more affluent neighbouring suburbs, young people in isolate suburbs felt excluded from neighbouring suburbs, and experienced more restricted opportunity structures than young people living in improver suburbs, even those who were themselves economically disadvantaged. The paper argues that this geographical experience of exclusion prevents many economically disadvantaged young people from accumulating knowledge and skills valued in post-school settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-89
Number of pages14
JournalChildren's Geographies
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • improver suburb
  • isolate suburb
  • opportunity structures
  • out-of-school activities
  • Social exclusion
  • soft skills


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