The Open UniversitySkip to content

Uneasy hybrids: psychosocial aspects of becoming educationally successful for working class young women

Lucey, Helen; Melody, June and Walkerdine, Valerie (2003). Uneasy hybrids: psychosocial aspects of becoming educationally successful for working class young women. Gender and Education, 15(3) pp. 285–299.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Drawing on a longitudinal study of middle-class and working-class girls growing up, this article focuses on those few working-class young women who managed to get to university and face the prospect of a 'professional' career. The authors examine the concept of 'hybridity' as it is used to understand shifts in the constitution of contemporary feminine subjectivities and argue that although hybridity may be a social and cultural fact, in this psychic economy there are no easy hybrids. The authors explore some of the more difficult emotional dynamics in their families that have nevertheless helped sustain their success; of 'never asking for anything', of parents as burdened, of envy, love and pride. Moving into the intellectual domain is a massive shift for working-class young women who do well at school, requiring an internal and external 'makeover'. It is therefore essential to explore the complexities of the losses as well as the gains involved in educational success and upward mobility for working-class young women if we are serious about the project of equality in education. Without a consideration of the psychodynamic processes involved, the deep and enduring failure of the majority of working-class girls and boys will continue unabated.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 0954-0253
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 3845
Depositing User: Users 6043 not found.
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 14:47
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU