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History of Youth Work


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Filip Coussée on the history of youth work. Presentation at the M.A. EYS Short Course in February 2011.

Published in: Education, Spiritual, Technology
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History of Youth Work

  1. 1. Youth Work, Where do we come from, where do we think we’re going? Supported by
  2. 2. Quote <ul><li>“ With some important exceptions, most social science literature about youth continues to be produced according to white, Western perceptions of reality, and Western traditions of social and cultural analysis …” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Quote <ul><li>“ If the public schools produce gentlemen prepared to lead , youth work must produce young men ready to follow” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Table of contents <ul><li>Social pedagogical perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Historical roots </li></ul><ul><li>Empowering the powerful </li></ul><ul><li>Going beyond the paradox? </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Investing and empowering </li></ul><ul><li>Council of youth ministers => 27.11.09 ‘on a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field’ </li></ul><ul><li>Welcomed with open arms by the youth field: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Young people are targeted as main priority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Youth work is recognised as important actor to contribute to objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But: investing in what and to which purposes? </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting their social and professional integration as an essential component to reach the objectives of Europe’s Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs, at the same time as promoting personal fulfilment, social cohesion and active citizenship?  A-historical? </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Investing and empowering </li></ul><ul><li>It is of vital importance to enable all young women and men to make the best of their potential . This entails not only investing in youth, by putting in place greater resources to develop policy areas that affect young people in their daily lives and improve their well being, but also empowering youth by promoting their autonomy and the potential of young people to contribute to a sustainable development of society and to European values and goals. </li></ul>A-political? A-pedagogical? A-theoretical? A-social? Good framework for youth work?
  7. 7. <ul><li>Investing and empowering </li></ul><ul><li>-historical : indivual development in line with social cohesion </li></ul><ul><li>-pedagogical : risk aversion and developmental management </li></ul><ul><li>-theoretical : pragmatical, logical, sensible, rational, … not open for debate </li></ul><ul><li>-social : societal challenges  individual tasks </li></ul><ul><li>-political : participation, a matter of individual motivation and support? </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Investing and empowering </li></ul><ul><li>A technical debate risking to strengthen existing situation </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforced by policymakers, practitioners and researchers </li></ul><ul><li>At the most: upwards mobility for individuals, societal status-quo </li></ul><ul><li>Youth work as a methodical question of “incomes and outcomes” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The accessibility of youth work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The efficiency of youth work </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Investing and empowering </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing two track policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainstream work: working with young people – access is a problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeted work: working on young people – efficiency is a problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The work that works is not accessible, the accessible work does not work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Two strategies across Europe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Upgrading young people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upgrading youth work </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Investing and empowering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk of decontextualisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cf. unstructured youth work has counterproductive effects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unorganised people should be organised, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence based policy? Or speculation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Magic triangle? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discovering or constructing? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. 2. The saint: social work <ul><li>Poverty relief and social work </li></ul><ul><li>Oratorio, Patronages, ... </li></ul><ul><li>“ a genius” who realised that the social issue was fundamentally a question of education </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in young people and empower them and you will prevent social problems  what’s new? </li></ul>
  12. 13. 2. The poet: youth movement <ul><li>Starts at school </li></ul><ul><li>Youth as a cultural vanguard </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-realisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Camping, hiking, nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural renewal, no social conflict </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Youth work avant la lettre <ul><li>Social care work for young people: participation in youth work </li></ul><ul><li>Youth movement: participation through youth work </li></ul><ul><li>Adapting society to the needs of young people or … </li></ul>
  14. 15. 2. The lord: An instrumental synthesis <ul><li>Social work + youth movement = youth work as an instrument for social education </li></ul><ul><li>Woodcraft, Public School, Boer War, Jungle Book, Boys Brigade </li></ul><ul><li>Single concept of boyhood (and youth work) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3 rd educational environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning by playing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask the boy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cultural renewal </li></ul><ul><li>Better “results”! </li></ul>
  15. 16. 2. The priest: A social pedagogical synthesis <ul><li>Social work + youth movement = social movement youth work as social educational practice </li></ul><ul><li>A dignified approach of the working youth </li></ul><ul><li>Cardijn’s Young Cahtolic Workers </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional? </li></ul><ul><li>Collective social action </li></ul>
  16. 17. Methodical= Abstraction of context <ul><li>-do you know that there are young working class people with problems of their own? </li></ul><ul><li>- I do not know young workers, I only know young citizens and I want to create strong-willed young men. </li></ul><ul><li>-do you know how young workers have to survive in factories, how they are influence by “workers’ milieu”. How could we help them to stay “good” or even to have a good influence in their milieu? </li></ul><ul><li>-I don’t know the workers’ milieu! </li></ul>
  17. 18. 2. The psychological fundaments <ul><li>The framing of the social question into the youth question </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The youth movement as a method </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underpinned by </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developmental psychology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Compulsary formal education vs informal learning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Moral panic </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 19. 2. Youth Workers upgrade themselves <ul><li>Scouting method as model: from action groups and study circles to youth movement or (scouting)methodology </li></ul><ul><li>AKVS  KSA </li></ul><ul><li>Patronages  Chiro </li></ul><ul><li>The Young Worker  YCW </li></ul><ul><li>Socialist Young Guards  Red Falcons </li></ul><ul><li>Emancipation is disconnected from social class. </li></ul><ul><li>Where have all the working class kids gone? </li></ul>
  19. 20. 2. Establishment of instrumental discours <ul><li>Flanders // Europe </li></ul><ul><li>1922: Catholic Action </li></ul><ul><li>1945: National Youth Service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Youth movement is better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organised - unorganised </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy of moving on </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. 2. The Youth Organisation <ul><li>The foreign observer is struck by the great diversity of youth movements in Belgium, and, if he has been in the country before, by their immensely increased importance in national life since the recent war. (Picalausa & Vanderbruggen 1946) </li></ul><ul><li>Through governmental measures and through their own initiative , the leaders of the youth movements are now taking responsibility towards the needs of youth in this changed world: physical health and fitness, moral and character education, vocational guidance and apprenticeship, education toward family responsibility, an adequate civic education adapted to the technical and moral needs of democracy. </li></ul>
  21. 22. 2. The Youth Organisation <ul><li>The youth movements are firmly decided to help solve all these problems by the influencing of the public opinion and of the government, by a co-operation with one another, by the extension of their action to the mass of youth , and by the complete and well-integrated education they aim to give to their members, alongside the family and the school, so as to enrich their personality and equip them to accomplish the great task of rebuilding their country and helping to make a better world. </li></ul>
  22. 25. 2. Sociological fundaments <ul><li>‘ The most convincing reply to the charge that the youth organization is a redundant institution was that given by the boys and girls who were themselves members. Those adolescents who belonged to a society were definitely easier to come to terms with than the non-members. They were not only willing but able to talk, and they generally had something worth saying. And were not those youngsters who were active members a shade more reliable, a shade more open-handed than the rest?’ (Jephcott 1954, Smits & Elchardus 2004). </li></ul>
  23. 26. 3. Empowering the powerful <ul><li>Tackling the problem of becoming accessible to non-organised or marginalised young people is now felt by al key players to be essential to increasing participation by young people (Commission of the European Communities 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Working class young people? Vulnerable young people? </li></ul>
  24. 27. 3. Empowering the powerful? <ul><li>New open forms of youth work: vulnerable young people, vulnerable youth work (‘not yet people’, ‘not yet youth work’) </li></ul><ul><li>Youth work is being redefined as a ‘method’ </li></ul><ul><li>Youth workers exclude (themselves) from the social debate on the “pedagogical responsibility of society” </li></ul><ul><li>Contextualization is re-introduced as a method, not as a principle (=> not emancipatory, but disempowering): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No direct action: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Employment  Employability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Failure of school  Failure at school </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Youth work method works: motivation and access </li></ul></ul>
  25. 28. 3. The work that works is not accessible <ul><li>Working with youth ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>universal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs-led </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ holistic’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social education? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Working at youth? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Budget-led </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>output en outcome focused </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ taylorized’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>prevention </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dividing lines between mainstream youth and deviant youth </li></ul>
  26. 29. <ul><li>, </li></ul>private public SOCIAL How to resocialise the youth question? Transit zone Forum
  27. 30. 4. Going beyond the paradox <ul><li>Youth work = Social work </li></ul><ul><li>The (re)invention of the social : post-communist, post-colonial, post-welfare </li></ul><ul><li>The social as a transit-zone : guiding young people to integrate in the social order </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Youth work instrument for social education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The social as a forum : discussing the way we relate to each other and the conditions that structure those relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Youth work social educational practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping up the tension! </li></ul></ul>
  28. 31. We make the road by walking Paolo Freire and Myles Horton