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Associate Professor Karen Nairn

Assoc Prof Karen NairnAssociate Professor MA(Cant) PhD(Waik) DipTchg

Dunedin Campus
Tel 64 3 479 8619
Email karen.nairn@otago.ac.nz

Biography

Karen Nairn was a high school geography teacher during the 1980s. An interest in the gendered dynamics of classrooms prompted her Masters research about quiet students followed by PhD research on geography fieldtrips. A postdoctoral position at the Children Issues Centre, University of Otago brought her south. She has been employed at the University of Otago for the past 16 years, currently based at the University of Otago College of Education where she is an Associate Professor.

Teaching Areas

  • Education and Society, Gender Issues in Education
  • Youth Studies
  • Qualitative Research
  • Writing for publication in the Social Sciences

Research Interests

The Handbook of Geographies of Children and Young People. Volume 3: Space, Place and Environment, co-edited with Prof. Peter Kraftl (Birmingham University), was published in 2016. This is one of a series of Springer’s Major Reference Works and includes 26 chapters from scholars around the world.

The children of Rogernomics: A neoliberal generation leaves school, written with co-authors Jane Higgins and Judith Sligo, was published in 2012. The book is about 93 young New Zealanders who grew up during the economic and social reforms of the 1980s and 1990s (often referred to as Rogernomics). Participants were interviewed in their final year of high school and again 12–18 months later. The book’s focus is the identity work of these young people. The book connects the stories of young people with the wider social and economic story of NZ during the last three decades. Young people’s own voices are woven together with theoretical analysis to show how participants worked and re-worked the possibilities, opportunities and constraints of their times.

Research interests include:

  • Post-school transitions and young people's identities
  • Neoliberal policies and their impacts on young people
  • Academic writing
  • Gender, sexuality, 'race' and youth cultures
  • The politics of voice
  • Feminist issues in education
  • Critical social and poststructuralist theory
  • Qualitative research methods, including visual methods
  • Secondary and tertiary education practices

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Publications

Graham, K., Treharne, G. J., & Nairn, K. (2017). Using Foucault's theory of disciplinary power to critically examine the construction of gender in secondary schools. Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 11(2), e12302. doi: 10.1111/spc3.12302

Sligo, J. L., Nairn, K. M., & McGee, R. O. (2017). Rethinking integration in mixed methods research using data from different eras: Lessons from a project about teenage vocational behaviour. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13645579.2017.1321868

Graham, K., Treharne, G., & Nairn, K. (2017, July). Using discourse analysis to explore secondary and tertiary educators' conceptualisation of their role. Verbal presentation at the Qualitative Methods in Psychology Conference, Aberystwyth, UK.

Graham, K., Treharne, G., & Nairn, K. (2017, July). Student educators' understandings of gender: A qualitative exploration of secondary and tertiary education settings in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Verbal presentation at the British Psychology Society (BPS) Psychology of Women Section 30th Anniversary Annual Conference, Windsor, UK.

Nairn, K., Kraftl, P., & Skelton, T. (Eds.). (2016). Space, place, and environment. Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-4585-90-3

Authored Book - Research

Nairn, K., Higgins, J., & Sligo, J. (2012). Children of Rogernomics: A neoliberal generation leaves school. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 196p.

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Edited Book - Research

Nairn, K., Kraftl, P., & Skelton, T. (Eds.). (2016). Space, place, and environment. Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-4585-90-3

Smith, A. B., Gollop, M. M., Marshall, K., & Nairn, K. (Eds.). (2000). Advocating for Children: International Perspectives on Children's Rights. Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 223p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Nairn, K., & Kraftl, P. (2016). Introduction to children and young people, space, place, and environment. In K. Nairn, P. Kraftl & T. Skelton (Eds.), Space, place, and environment. (pp. 1-24). Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-4585-90-3_33-1

Freeman, C., Gollop, M., & Nairn, K. (2016). Disasters, displacement, and disruption: Children and young people's experience of spatial change following disasters. In N. Ansell, N. Klocker & T. Skelton (Eds.), Geographies of global issues: Change and threat. (Online ed.) (pp. 1-25). Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-4585-95-8_11-1

Nairn, K., & Higgins, J. (2014). Stay or go? Reading identity through young people’s lives in rural places. In J. Wyn & H. Cahill (Eds.), Handbook of children and youth studies. (pp. 1-11). Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-4451-96-3_9-1

Higgins, J., & Nairn, K. (2014). "Out of sight, out of mind?" Education provision for learners disengaged from school. In V. M. Carpenter & S. Osborne (Eds.), Twelve thousand hours: Education and poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 145-164). Auckland, New Zealand: Dunmore.

Sligo, J., & Nairn, K. (2013). Children's understandings of success. In N. Higgins & C. Freeman (Eds.), Childhoods: Growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 235-248). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Higgins, J., & Nairn, K. (2010). In transition: From school to work in the twenty-first century. In G. McLennan, McManus & P. Spoonley (Eds.), Exploring society: Sociology for New Zealand students. (3rd ed.) (pp. 160-161). Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson.

Nairn, K., & Higgins, J. (2010). In transition: How the children of the economic reforms articulate identities at the child-adult border. In L. B. Claiborne & W. Drewery (Eds.), Human development: Family, place, culture. (pp. 253-255). Sydney, Australia: McGraw-Hill.

Higgins, J., Nairn, K., & Sligo, J. (2007). Peer research with youth: Negotiating (sub)cultural capital, place and participation in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In S. Kindon, R. Pain & M. Kesby (Eds.), Participatory action research approaches and methods: Connecting people, participation and place. (pp. 104-111). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Nairn, K. (2003). Young people's participation: What does it mean for libraries and librarians? In M. Nimon (Ed.), Connecting challenges: Issues for teacher and children's librarians. (pp. 120-126). Adelaide: Auslib Press.

Nairn, K. (2002). Doing feminist fieldwork about geography fieldwork. In P. Moss (Ed.), Geography and Gender: A Guide to its Methodology. (pp. 146-159). Oxford: Blackwell.

Nairn, K. (1997). Hearing from quiet students: The politics of silence and of voice in geography classrooms. In S. Roberts, H. Nast & J. P. Jones (Eds.), Thresholds in Feminist Geography. (III ed.) (pp. 93-115). Lanham (USA): Rowman and Littlefield.

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Chapter in Book - Other

Higgins, J., Nairn, K., & Sligo, J. (2008). Peer research with youth: Negotiating (sub)cultural capital, place and participation in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In S. Kindon, R. Pain & M. Kesby (Eds.), Participatory action research approaches and methods: Connecting people, participation and place (Reprinted). (pp. 104-111). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

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Journal - Research Article

Graham, K., Treharne, G. J., & Nairn, K. (2017). Using Foucault's theory of disciplinary power to critically examine the construction of gender in secondary schools. Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 11(2), e12302. doi: 10.1111/spc3.12302

Sligo, J. L., Nairn, K. M., & McGee, R. O. (2017). Rethinking integration in mixed methods research using data from different eras: Lessons from a project about teenage vocational behaviour. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13645579.2017.1321868

Smith, L., Nairn, K., & Sandretto, S. (2016). Complicating hetero-normative spaces at school formals in New Zealand. Gender, Place & Culture, 23(5), 589-606. doi: 10.1080/0966369X.2015.1034245

Nairn, K., Anderson, V., & Blanch, K. (2016). Future teachers debate charter schools on Facebook: Analysing their political subjectivities. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/01596306.2016.1228045

Nairn, K., & Wyn, J. (2015). New girlhood and lost boys: Analysing the cultural politics of gender and education through film. Discourse, 36(6), 821-832. doi: 10.1080/01596306.2014.973372

Freeman, C., Nairn, K., & Gollop, M. (2015). Disaster impact and recovery: What children and young people can tell us. Kōtuitui, 10(2), 103-115. doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2015.1066400

Nairn, K., Cameron, J., Anakin, M., Juntrasook, A., Wass, R., Sligo, J., & Morrison, C. (2015). Negotiating the challenge of collaborative writing: Learning from one writing group's mutiny. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(3), 596-608. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2014.973383

Spowart, L., & Nairn, K. (2014). (Re)performing emotions in diary-interviews. Qualitative Research, 14(3), 327-340. doi: 10.1177/1468794112473498

Blanch, K., Nairn, K., & Sandretto, S. (2014). Facebook in the classroom: Blended audiences and multiple front-stages. International Journal of Social Media & Interactive Learning Environments, 2(1), 70-84. doi: 10.1504/IJSMILE.2014.059693

Brown, K., Nairn, K., van der Meer, J., & Scott, C. (2014). "We were told we’re not teachers ... It gets difficult to draw the line": Negotiating roles in Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS). Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 22(2), 146-161. doi: 10.1080/13611267.2014.902559

Brown, K., Nairn, K., & Sandretto, S. (2014). Learners' experiences in negotiating excellence. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 49(1), 87-100.

Juntrasook, A., Nairn, K., Bond, C., & Spronken-Smith, R. (2013). Unpacking the narrative of non-positional leadership in academia: Hero and/or victim? Higher Education Research & Development, 32(2), 201-213. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2011.643858

Nairn, K., & Higgins, J. (2011). The emotional geographies of neoliberal school reforms: Spaces of refuge and containment. Emotion, Space & Society, 4(3), 180-186. doi: 10.1016/j.emospa.2010.10.001

Higgins, J., Nairn, K., & Sligo, J. (2010). Vocational imagination and labour market literacy: Young New Zealanders making education-employment linkages. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 62(1), 13-25. doi: 10.1080/13636820903491716

Higgins, J., Nairn, K., & Sligo, J. (2009). Alternative ways of expressing and reading identity. Ethnography & Education, 4(1), 83-99. doi: 10.1080/17457820802703549

Nairn, K., & Higgins, J. (2009). 'In transition': How the children of the economic reforms articulate identities at the child/adult border. Childrenz Issues, 13(1), 30-34.

Cameron, J., Nairn, K., & Higgins, J. (2009). Demystifying academic writing: Reflections on emotions, know-how and academic identity. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 33(2), 269-284.

Nairn, K., & Panelli, R. (2009). Using fiction to make meaning in research with young people in rural New Zealand. Qualitative Inquiry, 15(1), 96-112. doi: 10.1177/1077800408318314

Nairn, K., Higgins, J., & Ormond, A. (2007). Post-school horizons: New Zealand's neo-liberal generation in transition. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 17(4), 349-366.

Nairn, K., & Higgins, J. (2007). New Zealand's neoliberal generation: Tracing discourses of economic (ir)rationality. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 20(3), 261-281.

Nairn, K., Higgins, J., & Sligo, J. (2007). Youth researching youth: ″Trading on″ subcultural capital in peer research methodologies. Teachers College Record, 14515. Retrieved from http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=14515

Higgins, J., & Nairn, K. (2006). 'In transition': Choice and the children of New Zealand's economic reforms. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 27(2), 207-220.

Nairn, K., Sligo, J., & Freeman, C. (2006). Polarizing participation in local government: Which young people are included and excluded? Children, Youth & Environments, 16(2), 248-271.

Nairn, K., Higgins, J., Thompson, B., Anderson, M., & Fu, N. (2006). 'It's just like the teenage stereotype, you go out and drink and stuff': Hearing from young people who don't drink. Journal of Youth Studies, 9(3), 287-304.

Nairn, K., Munro, J., & Smith, A. B. (2005). A counter-narrative of a 'failed' interview. Qualitative Research, 5(2), 221-244.

Anderson, V., & Nairn, K. (2005). Commentary: Teaching and mothering: Reflections on the dual role. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 40(1 & 2), 211-220.

Nairn, K. (2005). The problems of utilizing 'Direct experience' in geography education. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 29(2), 293-309.

Smith, A. B., Gaffney, M., & Nairn, K. (2004). Health rights in secondary schools: Student and staff perspectives. Health Education Research, 19(1), 85-97. Oxford University Press.

Ashcroft, C., & Nairn, K. (2004). Critiquing the Tertiary Education Commission's role in New Zealand's tertiary education system: Policy, practice and panopticism. ACCESS, 23(2), 43-54.

Smith, A. B., Nairn, K., & Gaffney, M. (2004). Secondary students' involvement in recreational activities at school. Childrenz Issues, 8(1), 29-34.

Freeman, C., Nairn, K., & Sligo, J. L. (2003). 'Professionalising' participation: From rhetoric to practice. Children's Geographies, 1(1), 53-70.

Nairn, K., & Smith, A. B. (2003). Taking students seriously: Their rights to be safe at school. Gender & Education, 15(2), 133-149.

Nairn, K. (2003). What has the geography of sleeping arrangements got to do with the geography of our teaching spaces? Gender, Place & Culture, 10(1), 67-81.

Nairn, K., Panelli, R., & McCormack, J. (2003). Destabilizing dualisms: Young people's experiences of rural and urban environments. Childhood, 10(1), 9-42. doi: 10.1177/0907568203010001002

Smith, A. B., Nairn, K., Taylor, N. J., & Gaffney, J. M. D. (2003). Staff and student perspectives on children's rights in New Zealand secondary schools. Childrenz Issues, 7(1), 9-16.

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