This article reviews a range of models that have emerged to conceptualize youth work from 1978 to the present in Europe, Australia and the United States. Each, within their own culture, context and methodology presents a delineation and analysis of youth work practice, non-formal education, and the place of youth “participation” as an admirable political and social construct and endeavor. Participation, and its transatlantic sister “engagement,” is located within the contexts of post-modern social democracies. The models are critiqued, noting a common focus on a linear transfer of power from adults to young people. Youth participation is a concept in need of a cause and current democracies fall short in this regard. In a specific youth work mode, emancipatory practice encompasses an expressed object of change that targets deep social structures through which the levers of social justice can be engaged. The authors suggest that despite this myriad of categorizations and contexts, youth work practice must maintain a focus on social justice and that the purposes and boundaries of participative youth work must be explicitly interrogated to ensure youth voice, choice and action contribute to increasing human rights, improved wellbeing and expanded opportunities for all.
Modeling Democracy: Is youth “participation” enough?
Fusco D., Heathfield M. (2015) "Modeling Democracy: Is youth “participation” enough? " Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 7(1), 12-31. DOI: 10.14658/PUPJ-IJSE-2015-1-2
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Italian Journal of Sociology of Education
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