Rebecca Raby


Trained as a sociologist, I draw primarily on critical, feminist and post-structural theorizing to study constructions of childhood and adolescence, particularly their effects and how they are experienced by children and adolescents themselves; discrimination against young people, especially as age intersects with gender, sexuality, race, and class; aspects of the sociology of education, including school disciplinary and surveillance practices, and sex education; theories of agency, rebellion, resistance and contestation among young people; and children and youth as participants within families, peer groups, on-line, at work, and more broadly. I have recently completed a project on participatory voice and youth on Youtube and currently I am leading a SSHRC-funded project on young people’s very first jobs (with Wolfgang Lehmann).

With Xiaobei Chen and Patrizia Albanese I am pleased to announce the recent publication of our co-edited collection, The Sociology of Childhood and Youth in Canada (CSPI). With Shauna Pomerantz (Brock University) I have also recently published Smart Girls: Success, School and the Myth of Post-Feminism (2017, University of California Press). This SSHRC-funded study examines girls, smartness, gender and inequality in high school. My previous 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. A second edition is currently in press.

As well as being a faculty member in CHYS, I am a member of the MA Program in Social Justice and Equity Studies, a member of the MA Program in Sociology, and the Director of the Social Justice Research Institute

  • 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
  • theorizing and researching children’s participation
  • the discipline, governance and regulation of youth
  • gender and sexuality in childhood and youth
  • global childhoods
  • qualitative methods


Book Chapters

  • Raby, R. and W. Lehmann. (Forthcoming) “Early teen-work assemblages and embedded dependence” in Forms of Collectivity Among Contemporary Youth: A Global Perspective, Eds. V. Cuzzocrea, B. Gook and B. Schiermer. Brill Publishers.
  • Brock, D., A.Martin, R.Raby and M.P. Thomas. (2019). “Unpacking the Centre” in Power and Everyday Practices, Second Edition, Eds. D. Brock, A. Martin, R.Raby and M. Thomas, UTP.
  • Raby, R. (2019). “Growing Up, Growing Old” in Power and Everyday Practices, Second Edition, Eds. D. Brock, A. Martin, R.Raby and M. Thomas, UTP.
  • Raby, R. and S. Pomerantz. (2018) “Dress Codes as Gender Politics: Feminist Action in Canadian High Schools” in The Sociology of Childhood and Youth in Canada.  X. Chen, R.Raby and P. Albanese. Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • Raby, R. and S. Pomerantz. (2016) “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, CulturesWaterloo, 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.


  • Easterbrook, R., Raby, R., and W. Lehmann. (2020) “Now that I’m older…they totally trust me”: Navigating babysitting as liminal work” Childhood. On-line First.
  • Varadi, A., R.Raby and C.Tardif-Williams (2020) “Discourses of good motherhood and the policing of young parenthood” in Women and Criminal Justice.
  • Khan, T. and R. Raby. (Published online, 2019). “From Missing to Misdirected: Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of Young Men’s Experiences of Sex Education in Bangladesh” Sex Education.
  • Sheppard, L., R.Raby and W. Lehmann. (2019). “Grill Guys and Drive-Through Girls: Discourses of Gender in Young People’s Part-Time Work” Journal of Childhood Studies, 44(3): 56-69.
  • Pomerantz, S. and R. Raby. (2018). “Girls, Intra-Active: Dynamic Agency and the Negotiation of Smart Girlhood” Gender and Education. (On-line First)
  • Caron, C., R.Raby, C. Mitchell, J. Prioletta, S. Théwissen-LeBlanc. (2018).“How are Civic Cultures Achieved Through Youth Social-Change-Oriented Vlogging? A Multimodal Case Study” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, On-line First.
  • Raby, R., W. Lehmann, J. Helleiner and R.Easterbrook. (2018) “Reflections on Using Participant-generated, Digital Photo-elicitation in Research with Young Canadians About Their First Part-time Jobs” International Journal of Qualitative Methods. (On-line First)
  • Raby, R., W. Lehmann, J. Helleiner and R.Easterbrook. (2018) “’I’ll be more prepared than most people’: Young people talking about their first jobs” in Childhood, 25(2):237-252.
  • Raby, R., J. Prioletta, S. Théwissen-LeBlanc, C. Caron, and C. Mitchell. (2017) “Vlogging on YouTube The social change-oriented voices of young Canadians” Journal of Youth Studies, 21:4, 495-512.
  • Caron, C., R. Raby, C. Mitchell, S,Théwissen-LeBlanc and J. Prioletta (2017) “From Concept to Data: Sleuthing social change-oriented youth voices on YouTube” Journal of Youth Studies, 20(1):47-62
  • Bischoping, K., S. Chapman-Nyaho and R. Raby (2016) “Linking Visuality to Justice through International Cover Designs for Discipline and Punish” in The Annual Review of Interdisciplinary Justice Research, Volume 5:180-214.
  • Bablak, R. Raby and S. Pomerantz. (2016). “’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, 1(1):54-68.
  • Raby, R. and M. 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, R. and Domitrek, J. (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.