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Professor Karen Nairn

Assoc Prof Karen Nairn

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 a 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

Young Activists Research Project

What inspires young people (aged 18–29+) to join others to create social change?

Karen is Principal Investigator with this project.

Find out about the Young Activists Research Project

^ Top of page

Publications

Nairn, K., & Kidman, J. (2021). Living in and out of time: Youth-led activism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Proceedings of The Material Life of Time: The Second International Temporal Belongings Conference. Retrieved from https://www.temporalbelongings.org/programme1.html

Nairn, K., Kidman, J., Matthews, K. R., Showden, C. R., & Parker, A. (2021). Living in and out of time: Youth-led activism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Time & Society, 30(2), 247-269. doi: 10.1177/0961463X21989858

Rogers, T. L., & Nairn, K. (2020). Cambodian schoolgirls’ negotiation of discursive constraints within and beyond the school context. Gender & Education, 1-20. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09540253.2020.1849571

Nairn, K., Showden, C. R., Sligo, J., Matthews, K. R., & Kidman, J. (2020). Consent requires a relationship: Rethinking group consent and its timing in ethnographic research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 23(6), 719-731. doi: 10.1080/13645579.2020.1760562

Nairn, K. (2020). Learning through doing: The potential of a collective editing pedagogy. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(7), 888-901. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2019.1632827

Nairn, K., Higgins, J., & Sligo, J. (2012). Children of Rogernomics: A neoliberal generation leaves school. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 198p.

Authored Book - Research

Nairn, K., Kraftl, P., & Skelton, T. (Eds.). (2016). Space, place, and environment. Singapore: Springer, 566p.

Edited Book - Research

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.

Edited Book - Research

Costa Camoes Rabello, R., Anderson, V., & Nairn, K. (2018). An exploration of social investment discourses in the oil and gas sector. In D. Crowther, S. Seifi & A. Moyeen (Eds.), The goals of sustainable development: Responsibility and governance. (pp. 139-154). Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-5047-3_9

Chapter in Book - Research

Costa Camoes Rabello, R., Nairn, K., & Anderson, V. (2018). Rethinking corporate social responsibility in capitalist neoliberal times. In D. Crowther & S. Seifi (Eds.), Redefining corporate social responsibility. (pp. 27-41). Bingley, UK: Emerald. doi: 10.1108/S2043-052320180000013005

Chapter in Book - Research

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

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Research

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.

Chapter in Book - Other

Nairn, K., Kidman, J., Matthews, K. R., Showden, C. R., & Parker, A. (2021). Living in and out of time: Youth-led activism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Time & Society, 30(2), 247-269. doi: 10.1177/0961463X21989858

Journal - Research Article

Nairn, K. (2020). Learning through doing: The potential of a collective editing pedagogy. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(7), 888-901. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2019.1632827

Journal - Research Article

Nairn, K., Showden, C. R., Sligo, J., Matthews, K. R., & Kidman, J. (2020). Consent requires a relationship: Rethinking group consent and its timing in ethnographic research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 23(6), 719-731. doi: 10.1080/13645579.2020.1760562

Journal - Research Article

Rogers, T. L., & Nairn, K. (2020). Cambodian schoolgirls’ negotiation of discursive constraints within and beyond the school context. Gender & Education, 1-20. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09540253.2020.1849571

Journal - Research Article

Costa Camoes Rabello, R., Nairn, K., & Anderson, V. (2019). Working within/against institutional expectations: Exploring recommendations for social investment in the oil and gas sector. Extractive Industries & Society, 6(1), 103-109. doi: 10.1016/j.exis.2018.06.007

Journal - Research Article

Nairn, K. (2019). Learning from young people engaged in climate activism: The potential of collectivizing despair and hope. YOUNG, 27(5), 435-450. doi: 10.1177/1103308818817603

Journal - Research Article

Sandretto, S., & Nairn, K. (2019). Do parenting advice books help or harm? Critiquing ‘common-sense’ advice for mothers raising boys. Gender & Education, 31(3), 327-343. doi: 10.1080/09540253.2018.1533919

Journal - Research Article

Bäckström, A., & Nairn, K. (2018). Skateboarding beyond the limits of gender? Strategic interventions in Sweden. Leisure Studies, 37(4), 424-439. doi: 10.1080/02614367.2018.1462397

Journal - Research Article

Nairn, K., Anderson, V., & Blanch, K. (2018). Future teachers debate charter schools on Facebook: Analysing their political subjectivities. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 39(1), 41-52. doi: 10.1080/01596306.2016.1228045

Journal - Research Article

Sligo, J. L., Nairn, K. M., & McGee, R. O. (2018). 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, 21(1), 63-75. doi: 10.1080/13645579.2017.1321868

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

More publications...