Coming in from the cold:troubling work with young people within their families

Breeze, Lynne Kathryn (2019) Coming in from the cold:troubling work with young people within their families. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Austerity cuts in the UK beginning in 2009 and the continued targeting of young people’s services on young people who are ‘troublesome’ is troubling many practitioners who work with young people. Increasingly they are employed in multidisciplinary teams working with whole families. My research explores the work of two case study organisations who have developed work with young people within their families through outdoor and residential opportunities and key working. These are organic programmes which take an asset-based approach to develop ways of working with young people within their families. Using a collaborative, multi-modal approach, the research explores the narratives of practitioners who work on these programmes and draws on the stories of participating young people and their families to act as mirrors in a critically reflective process. Their individual narratives are bound together in a shared experience of living, playing and learning together, sometimes in the outdoors, sometimes in residential settings, sometimes at home. A collaborative action research process contributed to the on-going development of that practice. My research explores the different articulations of work with young people within their families and supports the emergence of new theory from practice. My own macro-analysis is informed by a critical feminist perspective and examines the emerging practice-theories within the political and cultural context of families identified as being ‘troubled’. The case studies demonstrate the contribution that outdoor learning, experiential learning and informal learning can offer to the multidisciplinary practice of work with families. The tradition of social education and new possibilities of social pedagogy provide further theoretical perspectives from which to critically reflect on practice and its social and political context. I conclude that work with young people within their families is more a context for work with young people than a discipline in its own right; it does not represent a single pedagogical perspective. These approaches may combine with residential programmes to create a different space in which to explore family relationships. I do however offer a model of critical practice to support practitioners to continue to trouble and question their practice with a commitment to the voice and empowerment of young people respecting the diversity of their experiences and their visions of family relationships. In these troubling times work with young people within their families, needs to come in from the cold and confidently articulate its contribution to this new context of professional practice.

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Thesis (PhD)
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03 Feb 2020 09:50
Last Modified:
30 Oct 2023 01:01