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Title: Learning about equality : a study of a generic youth work setting
Author: Coburn, Annette
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 8803
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2012
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The concept of equality has been established as an underpinning value base in youth work literature. Yet, equality is also recognised as a complex concept that includes perspectives on rights, social justice and egalitarianism which are variously applied in youth work. Young people's experience of equality in generic youth work is under-researched. This ethnographic case study aimed to examine how young people involved in generic youth work perceived and experienced equality there, in order to consider whether youth work helped them to learn about equality. This research involved studying the experiences of 17 young people over two years. I chose a single case setting, in a new town within a Scottish local authority that was known for innovation in youth work development. In addition to interviews, I observed young people in a range of locations: café, computing room, disability sports, games hall and rehearsal studio. Mertens' (2005) transformative paradigm was the underpinning theoretical framework for analysis that provided empirical evidence of the reasons young people gave for attending youth work and their perspectives and experiences of equality in this case setting. The study not only confirmed that youth work contributed to young people's learning about equality in this setting, it also identified the negotiated nature of youth work. Conclusions were drawn about how young people negotiated their relationships with youth workers and 'other' young people. Analysis also concluded that being treated equally, and working across social and cultural boundaries, facilitated their learning about equality and helped young people to make micro-level changes in their lives. The study calls for further investment in generic youth work as a starting point for equality work and asserts an optimistic future for practice that has a democratic and emancipatory purpose at its heart.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available