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PETE HARRIS NEWMAN UNIVERSITY, BIRMINGHAM UK How can outreach workers respond meaningfully to youth violence?

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Presentation on theme: "PETE HARRIS NEWMAN UNIVERSITY, BIRMINGHAM UK How can outreach workers respond meaningfully to youth violence?"— Presentation transcript:

1 PETE HARRIS NEWMAN UNIVERSITY, BIRMINGHAM UK How can outreach workers respond meaningfully to youth violence?

2 Young people can be… Perpetrator Witness Victim

3 Violence can be… Physical – the use of physical force, knives, guns, sexual attack, fights Psychological – verbal threats, bullying, intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, stalking, ostracising Material – inflicting damage on property or other inanimate objects Structural/state – the systematic failure of the state to provide for the basic needs of individuals, or harsh or discriminatory treatment at the hands of the state Symbolic – the control and use of symbols, discourse, images, meaning and geographical space to oppress and dominate

4 Our model of meaningful responses (Harris and Seal, 2014) Existential Structural Cultural Personal

5 The balancing act….. Challenge Collusion

6 Responding at the P level Working through our relationships to find alternative means of meeting young people’s needs – belonging, identity, loyalty, respect, security, excitement, status, money…. Moving from ‘collusion with neutralisation’ to ‘constructive confrontation’ Acting as a ‘container’ for projections and ‘recognising subjectivity’ Facilitating ‘street divorce’ and ‘knifing off’ through ‘redemptive scripts’ into ‘generativity’ Identification - the worker as a ‘blueprint self’ to create a new ‘replacement self’ Working through ‘epiphanies’ and improvising through ‘teachable moments’

7 Responding at the C level Long term, embedded community work - not ‘chasing violence’ but ‘targeting through universalism’ Engaging with peer groups, families and the community as generators and mediators of a violent ‘habitus’ Challenging ‘crab mentality’ Improvising to interrupt and deter violence in/between communities Facilitating group activities/events that develop community self-efficacy and self-belief, intergenerational and intercultural community cohesion – building ‘bonding’ and ‘bridging’ capital Utilising the ‘leverage’ of ‘home-grown’ workers Engaging with geography - local planning processes and ‘mapping’ communities

8 Responding at the S level Challenging (not colluding with) direct state violence e.g. police brutality, harassment and racism Exposing symbolic violence – surveillance Asserting rights of young people to be in public space Helping young people to ‘become the media’ and create ‘counter narratives’, making the invisible-visible Political action and education to facilitate legitimate expression of grievance

9 Responding at the E level Learned helplessness and hopelessness ‘Live for today’, nihilism and spiritual deficit Being there during epiphanies and existential crises Asserting personhood of the ‘other’ Encouraging real not notional apprehension Recognising the limits of dispassionate professionalism and the value of passion Encouraging the search for transcendence, meaning and purpose. What is valuable and enduring in life?

10 Responding meaningfully to intersectionality ‘Hyper-masculinity’ - ‘empowering to dis-empower’? ‘Late modernity’ – de-centred, multiple identities – recognising oppression but not essentialising Young women as perpetrators and victims of sexual violence? Disrupting their embodied and linguistic investment in patriarchal discourses - the “baby mother” – the “bitch” Taking father absence seriously within communities without stigmatising? Intersectional Interventions that ‘mix it up’?

11 Themed responses: Sport ‘Hooks for change’ with ‘currency’ Sport –  Street based boxing – ‘fair play’ football  Incapacitation  Mirror of social contract and as an alternative ‘community of practice’ – new role models  Sublimation and cathartic release of aggression  Playing with the “moment of escalation”  The “strength to walk away” or just fitter gangsters?  “Never on its own” – value communication by reflexive workers

12 Creativity  Art, music, film, drama, photography  Composition, performances and recording as a vehicle for building reflexivity and counter narratives

13 Environmental The “outdoors” Getting away and into new, natural environments Challenging, pro-social activities Travel and exchange

14 Outreach youth work “tales” No conceptual clarity when working with ‘respect’ and ‘trust’ The ‘cult of personality’ Un-reflexive complicity Not knowing when to ‘inhabit’ and when to ‘shake up’ subjective life-worlds Failiure to recognise existential deficits

15 Problematic worker identities The ‘too-wounded’ healer – projecting their own ‘baggage’ and unable to contain that of others The colluder – unwilling to risk relationships and issue a challenge The rhetorical radical - inertia owing to a wholly structural analysis and determinism The pathologiser - working exclusively at ‘P’ level, not challenging structural violence The evangeliser - indoctrinating and converting The evangelical materialist – refusing to acknowledge existential deficits

16 Back to our model PersonalCultural StructuralExistential Reflexivity


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