‘We can Get Everything We Want if We Try Hard’: Young People, Celebrity, Hard Work

Heather Mendick, Kim Allen, Laura Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on 24 group interviews on celebrity with 148 students aged 14–17 across six schools, we show that ‘hard work’ is valued by young people in England. We argue that we should not simply celebrate this investment in hard work. While it opens up successful subjectivities to previously excluded groups, it reproduces neoliberal meritocratic discourses and class and gender distinctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-178
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.


  • celebrity
  • effortless achievement
  • gender
  • hard work
  • neoliberalism
  • social class


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