The Community in Social Programs for Poor Youth: Between Inclusion and Risk

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Marina MEDAN, Universidad Nacional de San Martín/ Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina
This article is framed within the debates about the social, institutional and state processes of regulation of youth in conflict with criminal law, especially in contexts of inequality, where social and security policies are merged to govern the new generations. Since the 2000s, in Argentina, there have been community-based programs aimed at "at-risk" youths. These programs offer recreational activities, educational and labour support, and conditional cash transfers to youth, who must engage themselves in a "life project" out of crime. In these types of programs, the idea of "the community" has a double face: on the one hand, it is the necessary vehicle for social inclusion, but on the other hand, it is the source of the problems that endanger young people. This paper focuses on the category of community and explores programs' representations of it, as well as the ways in which the community itself -widely understood- manifests itself with a multiplicity of "govern projects" for young people. Among those projects, those linked to illegalities or sociability forms that contradict the ones promoted by the programs, are include. The argument is based on empirical data collected on qualitative research on social inclusion programs and youth crime prevention programs implemented in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between 2007 and 2017.