Peter is the Head of UNESCO UNEVOC @ RMIT. UNEVOC is UNESCO's global network for promoting learning for the world of work. He and his colleagues and collaborators in the UNEVOC Centre critically engage with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda in the context of conducting a number of projects under the broad umbrella of Young People, Technological Transformations and the Future of Work: Challenges for Sustainable Futures. This SDG related work is primarily – but not solely - framed by:
- SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;
- SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls;
- SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Peter is a social theorist/social researcher who has published extensively on young people, the practice of youth studies, social theory and globalisation.
His research interests currently cover the following areas:
Peter has an extensive research background in youth studies and an ongoing research interest in the ways in which youth transitions – and the family, employment, study and peer relationships shaped by these processes of transition – are being remade by the emergence of a globalised knowledge economy.
In 2015 he co-edited a major collection titled A Critical Youth Studies for the 21st Century. The collection explores the challenges and opportunities faced by young people in an often dangerous 21st century. In an increasingly globalised world these challenges and opportunities include those associated with widening inequalities, precarious labour markets, the commodification of education, and the hopes for democracy. Drawing on contemporary critical social theories and diverse methodologies, contributors to the collection, who are established and emerging scholars from the Americas, Europe, and Asia/Pacific, open up discussions about what a critical youth studies can contribute to community, policy and academic debates about these challenges and opportunities.
His 2014 book The Moral Geographies of Children, Young People and Food: Beyond Jamie’s School Dinners, takes UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign for better school meals, presented so powerfully in the TV series Jamie's School Dinners, as a starting point for examining often idealised ideas about parenting, young people's nutrition, health and well-being, and public health 'crises' such as obesity. The authors show how these debates are always about the moral project of the self, the types of people we are and should aspire to be, and the roles that food can play in that ongoing project.
New work ethics
This is a research program exploring the emergence of new work identities, obligations, and responsibilities in a globalised risk economy, and the ways these concerns find expression in various concerns for professionalisation, work-life balance, work related stress, and the idea that the self should imagine itself as an enterprise.
Aspects of this research area have been published in a book The Struggle for the Body, Mind and Soul of AFL Footballers (and a number of articles) that emerged from an Australian Football League (AFL) funded research project (2004/5) titled: Getting the Balance Right: Professionalism, Performance, Prudentialism and Playstations in the Life of AFL Footballers.
His book The Self as Enterprise: Foucault and the Spirit of 21st Century Capitalism suggests that 21st century, flexible capitalism creates new demands for those who work, and those who want to work, to acknowledge that all aspects of a worker’s life have come to be seen as performance related. These demands suggest that the cultivation of the self as an enterprise is the life-long activity that should give meaning, purpose and direction to a life.
Funded research projects
Effective educational settings and practices that support the development of young people (8 – 12 years) in Primary School Networks. Smart Geelong Region/Local Learning Employment Network
Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant (Partner Organisation Mission Australia) Capacity Building and Social Enterprise: Individual and Organisational Transformation in Transitional Labour Market Programs
Defining and Understanding intoxication and drunkenness: the individual’s response, Drinkwise Australia and Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing
’What a Great Night’: The cultural drivers of young Australian’s alcohol use’, Drinkwise Australia and Commonwealth Department of Health and
AFL Research program: Getting the Balance Right: Professionalism, Performance, Prudentialism and Playstations in the Life of AFL Footballers.
Peter is a registered research supervisor.
Areas of research supervision include:
- young people and education
- training and work
- identity, democracy and enterprise
- health and well-being
- Foucault, governmentality and care of the self
- Bauman, liquid modernity and ambivalence
- interpretive sociologies.
- 1998 Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University
- 1990 Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours), Deakin University
- 1989 Bachelor of Arts (Education), Deakin University
- Howie, L.,Campbell, P.,Kelly, P. (2020). Young people's resilience and post-financial crisis television: allegories of economic and social survival In: Journal of Youth Studies, 23, 189 - 204
- Noonan, M.,Kelly, P. (2020). Young people and the gendered and aesthetic dimensions of ‘enterprise’: stories from a ‘Rust Belt’ city In: Journal of Youth Studies, 23, 481 - 498
- Montero, K.,Kelly, P. (2020). Young people and the human-car-machine-assemblage: aesthetics, erotics and other lessons for school-based health education In: Discourse, , 1 - 14
- Brown, S.,Kelly, P.,PHILLIPS, S. (2020). Belonging, Identity, Time and Young People’s Engagement in the Middle Years of School, Springer Nature, Switzerland
- Argent, G.,Brown, S.,Kelly, P. (2020). (In Press) The responsibilisation of learners in the Australian Foundation Skills apparatus: making up motivated, choice-making customers In: Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, , 1 - 13
- Carbajo Padilla, D.,Kelly, P. (2019). Young people, precarity and global grammars of enterprise: Some preliminary provocations In: Recerca, 24, 61 - 91
- Kelly, P.,Campbell, P.,Howie, L. (2019). Rethinking Young People's Marginalisation: Beyond Neo-Liberal Futures?, Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom
- Kelly, P. (2019). Introduction: Neo-Liberal Capitalism in Crisis: Individualisation and the Problem of the ''Social'' in Social Justice In: Social Justice in Times of Crisis and Hope: Young People, Wellbeing and the Politics of Education, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.,, New York, United States
- Kelly, P. (2018). Neo-Liberal Capitalism and the War on Young People: Growing Up with the Illusion of Choice and the Ambivalence of Freedom In: Young People and the Politics of Outrage and Hope, Koninklijke Brill, Leiden, Netherlands
- Kelly, P. (2018). The Trouble with Belonging... In: Interrogating Belonging for Young People in Schools, Palgrave Macmillan, UK
1 PhD Completions10 PhD Current Supervisions
- COVID-19 and Disadvantaged Young People’s Education and Employment Aspirations: A Longitudinal Study of Young People’s Transitions in Geelong. Funded by: Anthony Costa Foundation Grant from (2021 to 2023)
- Non-attendance in the middle years in Whittlesea and what to do about it. Funded by: Collier Charitable Grant 2017 onwards from (2018 to 2018)
- How art-based social enterprise helps marginalised young people. Funded by: 010-ARC Discovery Projects 2017 from (2017 to 2021)