Photo of Jacqueline Kennelly

Jacqueline Kennelly


Degrees:PhD (British Columbia)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 8103
Office:B743 Loeb Building

*On sabbatical from July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

Areas of interest

My broad research interests encompass youth cultures, citizenship, democracy, social inclusion and exclusion, globalization/neoliberalism, social movements, urban sociology, homelessness, and education. My primary theoretical influences include Pierre Bourdieu, Hannah Arendt, Paul Ricoeur, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, many feminist theorists, and cultural studies (Birmingham School). Methodologically, I do qualitative and participatory research that incorporates both traditional ethnographic methods (e.g. interviewing, participant-observation) and non-traditional (e.g. visual and web-based methods).

Current Work

In 2019, I became the founding Director of the Centre for Urban Youth Research (CUYR) located in Carleton’s Dominion Chalmers Centre in downtown Ottawa. The mission of CUYR is to be a hub for critical and justice-oriented youth scholars, activists, and community organizations focused on tackling inequalities experienced by young people in urban centres.

I am also a member of the Research Management Committee of a new Network Centres of Excellence on youth homelessness, called Making the Shift: Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab. In addition to my role on the RMC, I am the co-lead of the Prevention and Early Intervention theme of MtS.

I am currently the PI of a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant to build on the work begun through a Mitacs-funded grant (with Charlotte Smith, MA student). Working Upstream focuses on the experiences of homeless youth in Ontario schools, the perspectives of school staff on youth homelessness, and the state of existing school policies for supporting young people when they are experiencing homelessness. The study includes meaningful youth engagement through a youth advisory committee in two Ontario cities, the co-development with homeless and formerly homeless youth of educational workshops for students and teachers, as well as skills development for homeless and formerly homeless youth in advocacy, research, and presentation skills.

I am the Co-Investigator on a recently funded Partnership Grant examining the experiences of residents across Canada who live in different types of affordable housing. Funded through the CMHC-SSHRC managed research funds released as part of the National Housing Strategy, I am the lead researcher of the Ontario regional project, alongside regional leads in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. My Ottawa-based research will explore the experiences of formerly homeless young people who have moved into affordable housing, including youth-specific social housing, city-wide public housing, non-profit housing, and portable rent supplements in the private market. The research will determine whether different types of affordable housing result in different social outcomes for young people, including access to employment, schooling, sense of safety in the neighbourhood, and health and well-being. The Ottawa project will be linked to the other regional projects through shared research tools and information gleaned from the newly released Statistics Canada National Housing Survey, which will also be analyzed as part of the Partnership Grant. With national and international steering committees of housing researchers and housing providers, as well as lived experts, the project is designed to be participatory and community engaged. Local Ottawa partners include the Youth Services Bureau, the City of Ottawa Housing and Homelessness Branch, Ottawa Community Housing, Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, and the United Way of Eastern Ontario. Formerly homeless young people will be trained as co-researchers in Ottawa, and will conduct interviews alongside graduate students from Carleton University.

With Dr. Naomi Nichols at McGill University, I am the Co-Investigator on a successful Insight Development Grant, focusing on building youth-designed policy for preventing youth homelessness through existing systems such as education, child welfare, youth justice, and health care.

Past Work

Before joining the department, I completed a SSHRC-funded post-doctoral fellowship with the University of Cambridge, where I studied the impacts of the Vancouver (2010) and London (2012) Olympics on low-income young people, under the supervision of Dr. Diane Reay. My SSHRC- and Killam-funded doctoral research, completed at the University of British Columbia and supervised by Dr. Jo-Anne Dillabough, examined the classed, racialized, and gendered cultural formations of youth activist communities in Canada, and their intersections with state-informed categories such as ‘citizen’ or ‘democratic engagement.’ The results from that study have been summarized in various peer-reviewed journal articles, and was published in 2011 by Palgrave-MacMillan in a monograph entitled Citizen Youth: culture, activism, and agency in a neoliberal era.

Click here for a short video describing Citizen Youth.

Related research, carried out in collaboration with Dr. Dillabough, ethnographically investigated urban low-income young people’s subcultural responses to such contemporary phenomenon as education and welfare retrenchment, ghettoization of the urban poor, and emergent forms of youth citizenship. The results from that study have been published in a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters as well as a monograph published in 2010 by Routledge, entitled Lost youth in the global city: class, culture, and the urban imaginary.

In 2013, I completed my five year ethnographic study of the urban effects of the Olympic Games for low-income, homeless, and street-involved young people in London and Vancouver. This project was supported by a SSHRC standard research grant (2010 to 2013), as well as SSHRC post-doctoral funding (2008-2010). Findings from the study have been summarized in a book recently published by Routledge, entitled Olympic Exclusions: Youth, Poverty, and Social Legacies.

Click here for an article published by the Dominion about this research.

Click here for an Ottawa Citizen article and video about this research.

Click here for a CTV interview about this research.

Click here for an Op Ed I wrote explaining why Calgary should vote No in the Olympic plebiscite held in November 2018 (the plebiscite was defeated).

Recent research has focused on the experiences of homeless and marginally housed young people with civic engagement and democratic processes (see for more), as well as the supports needed to help young people transition out of homelessness
(see andétis-newcomer-and for two community reports co-authored by Dr. Kennelly with graduate students and peer researchers, in collaboration with A Way Home Ottawa).

Click here for a video documenting a community event created in collaboration with the Ottawa Art Gallery around civic engagement and youth homelessness.

In 2018, I convened an international conference on ending and preventing youth homelessness, called Coming Up Together: Towards Ending and Preventing Youth Homelessness in Ontario, Canada, and Beyond. Final reports, photos, plenary videos, and other content can be found on the conference website at

Student Supervision

I supervise graduate students across a range of topics, including youth cultures, social movements, youth homelessness, masculinity, housing, education, policing and feminist organizing. For a complete list of theses I have supervised, please see my website.

Due to high supervision loads, I am NOT currently accepting new graduate students.

Selected publications


Kennelly, J. (2016). Olympic Exclusions: Youth, Poverty, and Social Legacies. Routledge: New York.

Poyntz, S. and J. Kennelly (2015). Phenomenology of Youth Cultures and Globalization: Lifeworlds and Surplus Meanings in Changing Times. Routledge: New York.

Kennelly, J. (2011). Citizen youth: culture, activism, and agency in a neoliberal era. PalgraveMacMillan: New York.

Dillabough, J. and J. Kennelly. (2010) Lost youth in the global city: class, culture, and the urban imaginary. RoutledgeFalmer: New York.


Kennelly, J. (2018). Troubling PAR: Institutional constraints, neoliberal individualism, and the limits of social change in participatory action research with homeless youth. In K. Gallagher (Ed), The Methodological Dilemma Revisited: Creative, Critical, and Collaborative Approaches to Qualitative Research for a New Era. New York and London: Routledge.

Kennelly, J., V. Stam and L. Schick (2018). ‘Breaking with inside experience’: navigating practical and scholarly knowledge in research with young people. In. X. Chen, R. Raby and P. Albanese (Eds), The Sociology of Childhood and Youth in Canada. Canadian Scholars Press, pp. 106-124.

Kennelly, J. (2017). Chapter 6: Intersectionality, Citizenship, and Activism. Chapter for textbook otherwise authored by Janet Siltanen and Andrea Doucet. Gender Relations in Canada: Intersectionalities and Social Change (2ndedition). Oxford University Press, pp 157-185.


Kennelly, J. (accepted). Urban masculinity, contested spaces, and classed subcultures:young homeless men navigating downtown Ottawa, Canada. Gender, Place and Culture.

Kennelly, J. (2018). Envisioning democracy: participatory filmmaking with homeless youth. Canadian Review of Sociology, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 190-210.

Kennelly, J. (2017). ‘This is the view when I walk into my house’: accounting phenomenologically for the efficacy of spatial methods with youth. Young. Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 1-17.

Kennelly, J. (2016). Symbolic violence and the Olympic Games: low-income youth, social legacy commitments, and urban exclusion in Olympic host cities. Journal of Youth Studies. Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 145-161.

Kennelly, J. (2015). ‘You’re making our city look bad’: Olympic security, neoliberal urbanization and homeless youth. Ethnography. Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 3-24.

Kennelly, J. (2014). ‘It’s this pain in my heart that won’t let me stop’: Gendered reflexivity, webs of relations, and young women’s activism. Feminist Theory, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 241-260.

Kennelly, J. and P. Watt (2013). Restricting the public in public space: the London 2012 Olympic Games, hyper-securitization and marginalized youth. Sociological Research Online. Volume 18, Issue 2, published 31 May 2013

Kennelly, J. and P. Watt (2012). Seeing Olympic effects through the eyes of marginally housed youth: changing places and the gentrification of east London. Visual Studies. Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 151-160.

Kennelly, J. (2011). Policing young people as citizens-in-waiting: legitimacy, spatiality, and governance. British Journal of Criminology, Volume 51, Number 2, pp 336-354.

Kennelly, J. and P. Watt (2011, in press). Sanitizing public space in Olympic host cities: the spatial experiences of marginalized youth in Vancouver (2010) and London (2012). Sociology.

Kennelly, J. and K. Lewellyn (2011, in press). Educating for active compliance: discursive constructions in citizenship education. Citizenship Studies.

Kennelly, J. (2009). Learning to protest: youth activist cultural politics in contemporary urban Canada. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies. Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 293-316.

Kennelly, J., P. Ugor and S. Poyntz. (2009). Special issue introduction: youth, cultural politics, and new social spaces in an era of globalization. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies. Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 255-269.

Kennelly, J. (2009). Good citizen/bad activist: the cultural role of the state in youth activism. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies. Volume 31, Issues 2-3, pp 127-149.

Kennelly, J. (2009). Youth cultures, activism, and agency: revisiting feminist debates. Gender and Education. Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 259-272.

Kennelly, J. and J. Dillabough (2008). Young people mobilizing the language of citizenship: struggles for classification and new meaning in an uncertain world. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29(5), pp 493-508.

Kennelly, J. (2006). “Acting out” in the public sphere: the challenges of community theatre to citizenship education. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(2), pp 541-562.

Dillabough, J., E. Wang and J. Kennelly (2005). “Ginas,” “Thugs,” and “Gangstas”: Young people’s struggles to “become somebody” in working-class urban Canada. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 21(2), pp 83-108.


Kennelly, J. (Principal Investigator, 2019 to 2022). Working upstream to prevent and end youth homelessness: mapping existing policies and practices to build better educational responses in Canada. SSHRCPartnership Development Grant, $199,550.
Partners: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, A Way Home Canada, Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa, The Raft (Niagara Youth Services), Raising the Roof, Hannah Dyer (Brock University).
Collaborators: Homelessness Partnering Strategy (Employment and Social Development Canada), Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, Stephanie Baker Collins (McMaster University), Ann Fudge Schormans (McMaster University).

Levitan-Reid, Catherine (PI), J. Kennelly, Collaborator; alongside several other co-applicants and collaborators from universities and community organizations across Canada. 2019 to 2020. An evaluation of affordable housing programs for those in greatest need.Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)-SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, $79,476. – to develop a five year Partnership Grant application.

Fai, Stephen (PI), J. Kennelly, Collaborator; alongside several other collaborators from across Carleton University; 2019 to 2020. Urban Futures: intra/inter.Multidisciplinary Research Catalyst Fund, Carleton University, $50,000.

Kennelly, J. (Principal Investigator, September 2018 to February 2019). Schools as Potential Sites of Prevention & Intervention for Youth Homelessness. MITACS Accelerate Program. $15,000 for 6 month graduate internship. In collaboration with the United Way Ottawa and the United Way St. Catharine’s.

Kennelly, J. (Principal Investigator, November 2017 to October 2018) Coming Up Together (CUT): Towards Ending and Preventing Youth Homelessness in Ontario, Canada and Beyond. SSHRC Connections grant, for the Coming Up Together conference, Feb 20-22. 2018. $25,000; additional matching funds of $5000 provided by Carleton University (FASS and VPRI).

Kennelly, J. (Principal Investigator, November 2016 to April 2017). Integrating insights, expanding knowledge: supporting the community strategy to prevent and end youth homelessness in Ottawa. MITACS Accelerate Program. $15,000 for 6 month graduate internship. In collaboration with the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa.

Kennelly, J. (Principal Investigator, January to September, 2016). Enhancing Youth Engagement as part of the Community Strategy to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness in Ottawa. MITACS Accelerate Program. $15,000 for 6 month graduate internship. In collaboration with the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa.

Kennelly, J. (Principal Investigator, 2014 to 2016). Encountering democracy: low income Canadian youths’ perspectives on citizenship and democratic processes. Spencer Foundation (based in Chicago, Illinois). $39,823 over 2 years.

Westheimer, Joel and John Rogers (Principal Investigators), with Larry Cuban, Michelle Fine, Patricia Gandara, Henry Giroux, Jacqueline Kennelly and Rashmita Mistry (Collaborators). Learning about inequality in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant.

Kennelly, J. (Principal Investigator, 2010 to 2013). Olympic Games, urban change, and youth cultures: investigating Olympic impacts on low-income young people in Vancouver and London. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Standard Research Grant.