Complex Lives - Intentionality, Hope and Change

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:35
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Wayne RICHARDS, University of Worcester, United Kingdom
This paper is written against a background of austerity policies in Britain  which have significantly diminished the funding available to youth and community work and increased the pressure for workers to justify practice in economic terms and to adopt the language of evidenced based practice.  This presents an epistemological challenge which draw practitioners onto the ground of linear causality  whilst attempting to evidence that youth work strategies can contribute to change.

I am fortunate in being able to occasionally meet up with young people I have worked up to 40 years ago. In doing so,  I am constantly surprised how memories are of the work we have done together remain so intact for them and I am gratified by the value they place upon it.  However, I would be cautious about attempting to make a causal link to change that I could claim as a result of my work given the complex web of social relationship young people are immersed in.  Whilst a claim to effecting change may be appropriate for simple goal directed work with predicable outcomes it does not in reality connect with the complex lives of young people and the turbulent cultures of change in which they are situated.   Instead, it could lead to an inflated sense of control in the face of uncertainly.

In this paper I wish to problematize the evidenced based argument in order to envision a different future which embraces the dual ontological structure of youth work and community work which at once both delivers planned interventions to impact positively on youth transitions and also sustains a person centred approach which starts where they are in order to liberate and transform.  Such a paradigm perhaps operates as a pedagogy of hope and is likely to be truer to the authentic core of youthwork