Kathy Edwards is a Senior Lecturer in the Youth Work Program within the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.
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.
2010–2013: Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) funded project. Australian Youth Work Education: Curriculum Renewal and a Model for Sustainability for Niche Professions. Project ID PP10-1612. Administering institution: Edith Cowen University. Budget total $214,000 with Cooper, T (ECU), Bessant, J. (RMIT), Broadbent, R., VU, and Couch, J., ACU.
Kathy is interested in supervising honours and higher degree students in topics that are related to youth sociology, youth policy, youth studies, studies in youth work, feminist theory and politics, women and policy, political participation and social movements, prostitution and sex-trafficking.
Prior Honours thesis supervision
The Primary Parliament Project: An Investigation of Students' Attitudes Towards their School
Which model of legislation most effectively addresses the demand aspect of sex trafficking in comparing Sweden (viewing prostitution as 'exploitation') and Victoria (viewing prostitution as 'sex work')
Transferring youth work knowledge from Australia to the Maldives: Perspectives and Problems.
Public spaces, private experiences and policy neglect: Young women's experiences of workplace violence in the Victorian hospitality industry'
Kathy Edwards coordinates a range of courses across the program, including Knowing Young People, Youth Work Ethics and Professionalism, Youth Policy and Youth Studies and Social Action. She also supervises students in honours and other research.
Kathy researches mainly in the areas of gender and youth. Her publications have focused on political socialisation, young people and multiple aspects of participation, social inclusion and youth policy, as well as on women, prostitution and sex-trafficking. Her most recent work concerns publishing outcomes from a systematic review of the literature concerning behavioural outcomes of Civic Education programs.
As a long time social activist Kathy brings a strong commitment to social justice for all, especially young people, to her teaching and research. She also focuses on bridging the gap between theory and practice, exploring social issues using a theoretical lens and using theory to contextualise, illustrate and explain social issues. In her teaching she is committed to active learning and on imparting broader-based skills such as critical thinking and the 'how to' as well as the 'what' aspects of learning.
Prior to her appointment at the RMIT Kathy held a variety of teaching and research positions at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the University of Sydney and the University of South Australia.
PhD UNSW (Political Science), 2000
BA (Hons) (Politics) University of Adelaide, 1989
BA University of Adelaide, 1988
Kathy is a member of the Australian Research Alliance for Childhood and Youth (ARACY).
- Edwards, K.,Shaafee, I. (2018). Youth Work as a Colonial Export: Explorations From the Global South In: The SAGE Handbook of Youth Work Practice, Sage Publications Limited, London, United Kingdom
- Manning, N.,Edwards, K. (2014). Why has civic education failed to increase young people's political participation? In: Sociological Research Online, 19, 1 - 12
- Manning, N.,Edwards, K. (2014). Does civic education for young people increase political participation? A systematic review In: Educational Review, 66, 22 - 45
- Edwards, K. (2012). Political Socialisation In: Contemporary Politics in Australia: Theories, Practices and Issues, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Australia
- Carson, L.,Edwards, K. (2011). Prostitution and sex trafficking: What are the problems represented to be?: A discursive analysis of law and policy in Sweden and Victoria, Australia In: Australian Feminist Law Review, 34, 63 - 87
- Edwards, K. (2010). Social inclusion: Is this a way forward for young people, and should we go there? In: Youth Studies Australia, 29, 16 - 24
- Edwards, K. (2010). Beyond the blame game: Examining 'the discourse' of youth participation in Australia In: Proceedings of the Future of sciology, Canberra, ACT, 1-4 December 2009
- Edwards, K. (2009). Disenfranchised not 'deficient': How the (Neoliberal) state disenfranchises young people In: Australian Journal of Social Issues, 44, 23 - 37
- Edwards, K. (2008). Social inclusion and youth participation: A new deal for Australia's young people? In: Youth Studies Australia, 27, 11 - 17
- Edwards, K. (2007). Force us to be free! The motivation of Australian school students for compulsory enrolment and voting In: Youth and Political Participation, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Australian youth work education: curriculum renewal and a model for sustainability for niche professions. Funded by: Australian Learning & Teaching Council from (2010 to 2013)