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Title: Creating communities of risk : exploring the experiences of youth workers and marginalised young people from minority ethnic backgrounds
Author: Mason, William John
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2013
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In the contemporary context of economic austerity and youth service cuts, socio-political discourses around ‘youth’ and ‘risk’ have gained amplified significance. In particular, young people from ethnic minority backgrounds have been situated centrally within public and political discourses surrounding ‘failed multiculturalism’, violence, drugs and ‘postcode gangs’. These problematic associations contribute to dominant perceptions of disadvantaged, minority groups as simultaneously ‘at risk’ and ‘risky’, a process that has a profound impact on the experiences of young people inhabiting racialised urban spaces. This thesis explores the impact of ‘risk labelling’ on the experiences of a predominantly Somali sample of young people (aged 11 – 19) alongside the youth workers that engaged with them. The data presented within this thesis are based on three years of ethnographic field work, conducted in and around local youth services in two disadvantaged areas of a post-industrial Northern city. The thesis explores the following research topics in depth: the impacts of ‘risk labelling’ on processes of collective identification; the ways in which young people conceptualised their behaviours in relation to ‘risk labelling’; the perceived significance of local youth provision within the research settings; and, the relationship between the youth workers and young people within the research settings. The research findings provide empirical support for the argument that racialised discourses contribute to the political framing of disadvantaged communities, along the lines of risk and that individually imagined communities are subjectively responsive to these ‘risk labelling’ processes. Through its exploration of ‘risk labelling’, this thesis also offers a number of key and relevant policy findings that illustrate the counter-productivity of government youth policy and the contemporary importance of financing local youth provision.
Supervisor: Reed, K. ; Britton, N. J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available