Youth in contect: frameworks, settings and encounters

 Youth in Context: Frameworks, Settings and Encounters
 Edited by Martin Robb,
 Open University/Sage
 ISBN 978-1-4129-3067-3,


As part of a series published by the Open University aimed at keeping practitioners abreast of changes in youth culture, this book sets itself high standards, writes Leo Roberts.

As the subtitle suggests, it is in three parts: frameworks, settings and encounters.

“Frameworks” aims to develop in practitioners the building blocks to critically assess current youth work practices, looking at relationships, change and participation.

“Settings” considers the context in which youth work might take place, from general community work – although, as the book acknowledges, all youth work takes place in some form of community – to the more specialised, focused responses of institutional work.

“Encounters” explores ways in which work with young people tends to be categorised – youth work, social work, youth justice – and argues for a more inclusive understanding of practice.

Including chapters on risk, safeguarding and support, the book attempts to reflect current concerns in work with young people. I say “attempts” because, in trying to address so many issues, the book often responds to the lowest common denominator and can offer broad brush strokes only.

Youth in Context is a partner book to Understanding Youth, and the two cannot be read in isolation – each informs the other. When read together, they offer a good introduction to the way policy and practice are shaped by the ongoing changes to both youth culture and society.

The book is written by experts in the relevant fields. While this has advantages, the writing style is inconsistent. Depending on your point of view, this will either keep you on your toes or put you off your stride. Get both books to benefit from the information and insight – but don’t expect a light read.

Leo Roberts is a youth and children’s work training and development officer for the United Reformed Church

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