Home > Targeted youth work in contemporary Ireland.

Scanlon, Margaret and Powell, Fred and Geoghegan, Martin and Swirak, Katharina (2011) Targeted youth work in contemporary Ireland. Youth Studies Ireland, 6, (1), pp. 1-15.

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Debates about the implications of a targeted approach to youth work have been conducted over the last few decades. While it is often argued that targeting is a means of reaching and engaging marginalised young people, critics suggest that recent initiatives represent a form of surveillance and undermine the fundamental principles of youth work. In this article we explore the implications of targeting from the perspective of those working in the youth work sector in Ireland, based on interviews with youth workers and policy makers. A number of key themes emerged from these interviews, including issues around whether targeted projects are complementary or compensatory, whether they empower or control young people, and whether they are genuinely based on voluntary participation and promote social integration. While participants were mindful of the possible drawbacks of certain interventions, there was a general consensus that targeting (in some form) is necessary to reach the most disadvantaged young people in Irish society.

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