Rebecca Raby, Ph.D.

Faculty of Social Sciences - Child and Youth Studies

Rebecca Raby, Ph.D.

Chair and Associate Professor
CRN - 325
Phone (905) 688-5550, ext. 3172

My research draws on post-structural and critical theories to examine shifting constructions of childhood and adolescence, particularly how they are experienced by children and adolescents themselves and how they are intersected by gender, race, class and sexuality. I also theorize young people's resistance and rights. I have recently completed a SSHRC-funded investigation of secondary school dress and discipline codes: how the language they use produces certain assumptions about young people and ideal workers, how they are applied by staff, and how they are received and negotiated by students. My current SSHRC-funded study (with Shauna Pomerantz) school is entitled, "Smart Girls: Negotiating Academic Success in a 'Post-Feminist' Era and examines the intersections between gender and high academic achievment in high school.

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 resistance and rights
  • the discipline, governance and regulation of youth
  • gender and sexuality in childhood and youth
  • global childhoods
  • social inequality
  • 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

Pomerantz, Shauna & Raby, Rebecca (forthcoming 2014). "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 .



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

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” in Race, 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.


Recent Presentations

Pomerantz, S and R. Raby (2013) “Looking Pretty/Being Smart: Girls’ Embodiment of Academic Success in the School” National Women’s Studies Association, Cincinnati, OH.

Raby, R.and S. Pomerantz (2013) “Complicating the Centre:  Negotiating Academic Success in Niagara Region High Schools” Francophone Sociology of Childhood: Sociology of Childhood Days Conference, Halifax.

Raby, R. and S. Pomerantz (2012) “Landscapes of academic success: Girls, location and the importance of school culture” Girlhood Studies and the Politics of Place: New Paradigms of Research Conference, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF), McGill University, Montreal.

Raby, R, S.Pomerantz and A. Stefanik.  (2012) “Playing it Up or Playing it Down?  The pleasures and hazards of doing ‘smart girl’ in high school” CASWE, Kitchener, ON

Pomerantz, S., R.Raby and A. Stefanik (2012) “Girls Run the World? Caught between sexism and post-feminism in the school” American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, B.C.

Raby, R. (2011) "Children's participation as middle class governance?" Canadian Sociology Association, Fredericton, NB

Pomerantz, S. and R. Raby (2011) "The 'New Nerd': Smart girls, post-feminism, and popular culture" CASWE, Fredericton, NB

Pomerantz, S. and R. Raby (2010) "The New Nerd: Girls resignifying academic success" at Reimagining Girlhood: Communities, Identities, Self-Portrayals, SUNY Cortland Women's Studies, Coutland NY.

Pomerantz, S. and R. Raby (2010) "'Oh, she's so smart': Girls' complex engagements with post/feminist narratives of academic success" American Educational Research Association. Denver, Colorado.

Millei, Z and R. Raby (2009) "Embodied logic: understanding discipline through teachers' commentaries" Australian Association for Research in Education, Canberra, Australia.

Raby, R. (2009) "Theorizing liminal adulthood and its consequences for youth" Times of Our Lives: Making Sense of Ageing, Oxford England.  

Raby, R. (2009) "Power and the production of adolescence: an analysis of escalating consequences" Canadian Sociology Association at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, Carleton University, Ottawa ON.



Dr. Rebecca Raby
Dr. Rebecca Raby


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