Rebecca Raby, Ph.D.

Faculty of Social Sciences - Child and Youth Studies

Rebecca Raby, Ph.D.

CRN - 340
Phone (905) 688-5550, ext. 3172

Trained as a sociologist, I draw primarily on critical, feminist and post-structural theorizing to study discrimination against young people, especially as age intersects with gender, race, class and sexual orientation; aspects of the sociology of education, including school disciplinary and surveillance practices, and sex education; constructions of childhood and adolescence, particularly how they are experienced by children and adolescents themselves; theories of agency, rebellion, resistance and contestation among young people; and children and youth as active participants within families, peer groups, on-line, within social institutions and more broadly.

My recent SSHRC-funded book, School Rules: Discipline, Obedience and Elusive Democracy, problematizes secondary school dress and discipline codes in terms of the kind of student and future citizen they aim to construct, and how they are received, negotiated and often challenged by teachers and students. I am also co-editor of the textbook Power and Everyday Practices (with Deborah Brock and Mark Thomas, York University), which draws on Marxist and Foucauldian thinking in order to complicate everyday activities. I am currently completing a SSHRC-funded project with Shauna Pomerantz (Brock CHYS) which examines girls, smartness, gender and inequality in high school. I am also involved in two new projects: one studying participatory voice and youth on Youtube and another looking at children’s first jobs.

As well as being a faculty member in CHYS, I am also a member of the MA Program in Social Justice and Equity Studies, and on the Faculty Steering Committee of the Social Justice Research Institute.

Research Interests

  • discourses of childhood and adolescence, their effects and contradictions
  • teenagers' experiences and perceptions of adolescence
  • gender, race, class and sexual orientation as they intersect in the lives of young people
  • theorizing agency, rebellion resistance and contestation
  • theorizing children's rights
  • children's participation
  • the discipline, governance and regulation of youth
  • gender and sexuality in childhood and youth
  • global childhoods
  • qualitative methods

Recent Publications
Raby, R. (2012). School rules: obedience, discipline and elusive democracy. University of Toronto Press.

Brock, D., R. Raby and M. Thomas (Eds.) (2012) Power and Everyday Practices. Nelson Education Ltd.

Book Chapters

Raby, R. and S. Pomerantz. (Forthcoming) “Landscapes of Academic Success: Smart Girls and School Culture” in Girlhood studies and the politics of place: Contemporary paradigms for research. New York: Berghahn Books.

Pomerantz, Shauna & Raby, Rebecca (2015). "The post-nerd: Reading smart girls in post-feminist popular culture." In Clare Bradford & Mavis Reimer (Eds.). Girls, Texts, Cultures. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier Press.

Brock, D., R.Raby and M.P. Thomas. (2012) “Unpacking the Centre” chapter in Power and Everyday Practices. D. Brock, R.Raby and M. Thomas (Eds), Nelson.

Raby, R. (2012) “Age,” chapter in Power and Everyday Practices. D. Brock, R.Raby and M. Thomas (Eds), Nelson.

Philips, J and R. Raby (2012) “Tourism,” chapter in Power and Everyday Practices. D. Brock, R.Raby and M. Thomas (Eds), Nelson.

Raby, R. (2010) "The intricacies of power relations in secondary school disciplinary strategies" in Retheorizing Discipline in Education: Problems, Politics and Possibilities. Eds. Zsuzsa Millei, Tom Griffiths and Robert John Parkes. Peter Lang Publishing Group.

Millei, Z. and R. Raby. (2010) "Complicating understandings of the subject of discipline" in Retheorizing Discipline in Education: Problems, Politics and Possibilities. Eds. Zsuzsa Millei, Tom Griffiths and Robert John Parkes. Peter Lang Publishing Group.

Raby, R. (2009). "School Rules, Bodily Discipline, Embodied Resistance" in Canadian Perspectives on the Sociology of Education, Ed. Cynthia Levine-Rasky, Ph.D. Oxford University Press.

Raby, R. 2008. "Rights and Responsibility: School Conduct Codes and the Production of Passive Citizenship" in Children's Rights: Theories, Policies and Interventions, Eds. Tom O'Neill and Dawn Zinga. University of Toronto Press.

van Vliet, J. and R. Raby. 2008. "Too Little, Too Late: The Right to Comprehensive Sexual Health Education in Childhood and Adolescence" in Children's Rights: Theories , Policies and Interventions, Eds. Tom O'Neill and Dawn Zinga. University of Toronto Press.

Raby, R. (2007). "Searching, Working and Shopping: Is This Prolonged Youth?" in Reading Sociology: Canadian Perspectives. Eds. Lorne Tepperman and Harley Dickinson (pp. 55-57). Oxford University Press.

Raby, R. (2007). "Across a great gulf? Conducting research with adolescents". In A. L. Best (Ed.), Representing Youth: Methodological Issues in Critical Youth Studies (pp. 39-59). New York: New York University Press.

Raby, R. (2006). "Talking (Behind Your) Back: Girls and resistance" in Girlhood: Redefining the Limits. Editors Yasmin Jiwani, Claudia Mitchell and Candis Steenbergen. Black Rose Books, Montreal .


Larissa Bablak, Rebecca Raby and Shauna Pomerantz. (Forthcoming). “’I don’t want to stereotype… but it’s true’: Maintaining whiteness at the centre through the ‘smart Asian’ stereotype in high school.” Whiteness in Education.
Raby, Rebecca and Mary-Beth Raddon. 2015. “Is She a Pawn, Prodigy or Person with a Message? Public Responses to a Child’s Political Speech” Canadian Journal of Sociology, 40(2):163-187.

Pomerantz, S. and R.Raby (2015) “Playing it Down or Playing it Up: The Pleasures and Hazards of Doing ‘Smart Girl’ in High School” British Journal of Sociology of Education, 36(4):507-525.

Raby, R. (2014) “Children's participation as Neo-Liberal Governance?” Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(1), 77-89.

Pomerantz, S and R. Raby and A. Stefanik (2013) "Girls Run the World? Caught Between Sexism and Post-Feminism in the School" Gender and Society, 27(2), 185-207.

Pomerantz, S. and R. Raby (2012) "Oh, She's so Smart": Girls' Complex Engagements with Post-Feminist Narratives of Academic Success" Gender and Education, 23(5): 549-564.

Raddon, M., E. Sharpe and R.Raby (2010) "The Challenges of Teaching Qualitative Coding: Can a Learning Object Help?"International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 21(3):336-350.

Raby, R. (2010) "Public selves, inequality and interruptions: the creation of meaning in focus groups with teens"International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 9(1):1-15.

Raby, R. (2010) "'Tank tops should be ok but I don't want to see her thong': girls, dress codes and the regulation of femininity" Youth and Society. 41:333-356.

Raby, R. (2010) "Theorising liminal selfhood and its consequences for childhood, youth and adulthood" in Times of Our Lives: Making Sense of Growing Up and Growing Old. Eds. Harry Blatterer and Julia Glahn. eBook, Vol. 92 of the Probing the Boundaries Series "Making Sense Of", Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, pp.69-77.

Domitrek, J. and R. Raby. (2008) "Are you listening to me? Space, context and perspective in the regulation of Mp3 players and cell phones in secondary school" Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 81:1-33.

Raby, R. 2008. "Frustrated, resigned, outspoken: Students' engagement with school rules and some implications for participatory citizenship" International Journal of Children's Rights, 16(1): 77-98.

Skott-Myhre, H., R. Raby and J. Nikolaou. 2008. "Towards a delivery system of services for rural homeless youth: A literature review and case study" Child and Youth Care Forum, 37(2): 87-102.

Raby, Rebecca and Domitrek, Julie. (2007). "Slippery as Fish... but Already Caught? Secondary Students' Engagements with School Rules" in Canadian Journal of Education. 30(3): 931-958.
Raby, R. (2007). "Children in Sex, Adults in Crime: Contructing and Confining Teens" in Resources for Feminist Research/Documentation sur la recherche feministe, Vol. 31, Nos. 3/4, pp. 9 - 28.

Raby, R. (2005) "What is Resistance?" in Journal of Youth Studies, 8(2):151-172.

Raby, R. (2005). "Polite, Well-dressed and on Time: Secondary School Conduct Codes and the Production of Docile Citizens." The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 42(1):71-92.

Raby, R. (2004). “'There's no racism at my school, it's just joking around': Ramifications for anti-racist education” inRace, Ethnicity and Education, 7(4), 367-383.

Raby, R. (2002). Tangle of Discourses: Girls negotiating adolescence. Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 5, Issue 4, pp 425-450.