Life Chances: Stories of growing up in Australia, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Life Chances

Stories of growing up in Australia, 1st Edition

By Janet Taylor

Federation Press

208 pages

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This book presents the real life stories of five young people who were all born in the same place at the same time and who all seem to be flourishing at age 21 but who have had very different life experiences along the way. The book draws on the findings of the unique Life Chances Study, a longitudinal research project which has followed the lives of a group of young people for 21 years since their birth in inner Melbourne in 1990. The study has explored in detail the impacts of family income and disadvantage for children over time. The wealth of data from the interviews over the years is used to present the young people's stories from infancy to age 21, both from the perspectives of their parents and, as they grow up, in their own words.

An introductory chapter introduces the stories and the context. This is followed by five detailed life stories and a concluding chapter which reflects on issues of social and economic support for families. The stories include young people from both advantaged and disadvantaged family backgrounds and with parents from different birthplaces (China and Vietnam as well as Australia). They illuminate such diverse aspects of life as the development of ethnic identity, language barriers, career planning, neighbourhood and choice of school.

Life Chances makes an important contribution to understanding inequality and disadvantage in our society. It enables the reader to engage with the lives and thoughts of five families over 21 years and can provide insights into the complexity of individual lives in their wider context.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Professor Johanna Wyn Preface Introduction 1. Debbie's story 2. Amy's story 3. Tom's story 4. Sally's story 5. Will's story Reflections.

About the Author

Janet Taylor is Senior Researcher at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Melbourne. With a background in social work and sociology, she has undertaken a range of research studies over many years on immigrants and refugees, health needs, young people, unemployment and attitudes to poverty. She joined the Brotherhood in 1988. One of her major projects at the Brotherhood has been the longitudinal Life Chances Study which she has worked on since into inception in 1990.

Her recent Australian Research Council partnerships with the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW include: 'Left out and missing out: towards new indicators of social exclusion and material deprivation' and 'Making a difference: building on young people's perspectives on economic adversity'.

Janet has a MA Sociology from La Trobe University, and a BA and Diploma, Social Studies from the University of Melbourne, where she is an Honorary Senior Fellow, in the School of Social and Political Sciences.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General