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Policy, politics and practice: work with young people

Coburn, Annette (2008) Policy, politics and practice: work with young people. In: Reclaiming Social Purpose in Community Education. University of Edinburgh, pp. 22-24.

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Abstract

This subtitle draws on Phil Mizen’s book, ‘The Changing State of Youth’ (Mizen, 2004) that examined how changing state interventions and perspectives have impacted on the lives of young people in contemporary British society. This short paper asserts that youth work has also changed to accommodate oppressive state policies, interventions and adverse perspectives. These have resulted in the emergence of a form of youth work that is about controlling and containing young people rather than empowering and liberating them. The paper is optimistic that challenging current constructions of youth through a dynamic educational youth work sector may alter the prevailing discourse and strengthen the possibilities inherent in young people’s democratic and human rights. As academics, we are well placed to mount this challenge through dialogue with the Scottish Government.