Body-Power: The Lived Body and Youth Work Practice in Hong Kong

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Cheuk Ling NG, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The study of body has become the buzzword for over two decades and it has been expanded in different disciplines. However, most youth workers often work with young people who experience painful, traumatic or other kinds of bodily experiences, or even direct and manage different bodily conditions through day-to-day practices; it is yet to develop as the key domain in youth work. Even though the development of youth work has been developed over half of a decade, youth work practice with body issues has not been transcended the actual physical perspective to reflect how bodily knowledge are being defined, interpreted and managed, and then affect the working approach on youth work practice.

This paper aims to explore youth workers’ body sensitivity, the understanding of different kinds of body issues, and their youth work practice with body issues. The qualitative method adopted in this study. Twenty youth workers who are working in different youth services settings shared their intervention skills when engaging with young people in different bodily issues such as sex, sexuality, drugs, sex work and self-harm behaviors. This study revealed that most youth workers do not have a strong sensitivity on body and they are found to have faced different struggles and difficulties when intervening in body issues with young people. Some of them even implicitly use their professional knowledge and power to regulate body comportment and bodily care of young people.

This study attemptes to relink the strong relationship between body and youth work. It contributes to address some questions and limitations when working with young people under the dominant discourse on biological body in youth work. It also opens the discussion and provides an alternative way to examine the potentials of youth embodiment under the climate of body-insensitive in Hong Kong social context.