Life chances, lifestyle and everyday aspirational strategies and tactics

Jane Kenway, Anna Hickey-Moody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The notion of raising the aspirations of socially disadvantaged students is a key policy strategy in for enhancing such students' participation in higher education. However, this strategy runs the risk of being simplistic and ineffective unless it is informed by research on the links between aspirations and such students' changing life experiences particularly with regard to the many, often subtle, ways that power and privilege operate. This paper draws on an ethnographic study of young men in schools in regional Australia and shows how their everyday knowledges inform their aspirations. de Certeau's concepts, 'strategy', 'tactic' and 'spatialized knowledges' assist us to understand the knowledges boys pursue, resist, cling to and relinquish in relation to the shifting knowledge imperatives of their everyday lives. There are two main sets of knowledge they deploy; knowledge about life chances and lifestyle. Each involves diverse strategies and tactics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Aspiration
  • Boys' education
  • Masculinity
  • Rural education
  • Spacial inequality

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