Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Science


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Jan Gray


This thesis locates, examines and interprets the written sources of information guiding how delinquent school-aged young people are viewed in relation to their education in Western Australia. The study involved an examination of texts discussing post industrial socio-historical events and currently policy, practice and research in relation to students who are alienated from school, including those who have criminal histories. An exploration of the discourses assembled around the costruction of Western Australian school-aged offenders as alienated students revealed an ongoing assumption that children and youth from low socio-economic backgrounds are often governed as low school achievers who are less likely to complete compulsory schooling. In the documents examined leaving school early was regularly discussed and linked to unemployment, poverty and criminal activity. This thesis presents an interpretation of the role these discourses have played in the construction of Western Australian school aged offenders as alienated students (Gubrium & Holstein 2000, p.503).