Reluctant rebels: A case study of Edmonton high school drop-outs


  • *The research described in this paper is part of a collective project involving Tim Hartnagel, Harvey Krahn, Graham Lowe and myself. I am indebted to them for the many and varied contributions that they have made to this paper. I am also very grateful to David Ashton, Scott Davis, Jane Gaskall, Sev Isajiw, Bill O'Grady, Aysan Tuzlak, and Jerry White, and the anonymous reviewers for The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology for helpful comments that they made on previous drafts of the paper. Thanks are also due to those people who, in addition to Harvey Krahn and myself, conducted the interviews on which the research is based: Marie Carlsberg, Mary-Anne Hendrik, Della Letnes, Les Samuelson, Alice Walter and particularly, Lawrence Walter, who not only did the lion's share of interviewing but also provided important insights into interpretation of the information received. Finally, I would like to acknowledge Joan Barnes' exemplary typing and editorial skills. Alberta Manpower, the Solicitor General of Canada, the City of Edmonton, and the University of Alberta provided financial assistance for this study. It is to be published in a slightly different form in D. Ashton and G. Lowe (eds.), Making Their Way: A Comparative Analysis of the Relationship Between Education, Training and the Labour Market in Canada and Britain, London, Open University Press 1990, and appears here by permission of the editors. This article was received in March, 1988 and accepted in September, 1989.


Cet article donne un compte-rendu des attitudes et comportements de 162 élèves défectionnaires masculins et féminins d'Edmonton en Alberta. J'examine leurs propres descriptions des facteurs qui ont contribué a leur départ précoce du milieu scolaire, à leur attitude face à l'education et à leur expérience du marché du travail. Les résultats suggèrent que malgré que le processus par lequel un élève devient défectionnaire est fondé sur des facteurs reliés à l'éducation, la majorité des répondants demeurent ambiguës face à leur décision de quitter l'école, ne se sont pas nécessairement aliénés du système scolaire et tiennent une croyance pragmatique quant au besoin d'obtenir des diplômes. Je discutte de ces résultats en considérant les initiatives récentes d'expliquer les structures de la résistance à l'éducation.