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'Youth offending, youth transitions and social recognition' : rethinking youth justice policy and practice

Barry, Monica (2017) 'Youth offending, youth transitions and social recognition' : rethinking youth justice policy and practice. In: Juvenile Delinquency. Ministry of Justice [Portugal], Lisbon. (In Press)

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    The impact of social inequalities and social institutions in determining or undermining youth transitions and conventionality is becoming increasingly apparent. Nevertheless, the majority of young people still aspire towards mainstream goals in their journey towards adulthood (MacDonald 1997; Williamson 1997; Wyn & White 1997). The means through which those aspirations are achieved, however, is a moot point. Because of structural constraints in that journey, notably in relation to their limited status as young adults as well as their limited opportunities for further education and employment, many - notably the more disadvantaged - are effectively excluded from mainstream society and may resort/revert to illegal or devious means of gaining a foothold in society (Merton, 1957) and of gaining social, economic and symbolic capital (Barry, 2006; Bourdieu, 1987). It is on this group of more disadvantaged and marginalised young people that this chapter will focus. It will describe recent developments in theoretical and empirical research into youth transitions and desistance, before exploring the views and experiences of young people themselves who have become involved in the criminal justice system in Scotland. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the potential importance of the concept of recognition in reducing the need for offending in youth by offering greater opportunities for integration and a sense of purpose in young adulthood.