05 SES 04 B, School Disaffection
Parallel Paper Session
At a time when young people of Europe and globally are being ‘culled’ by unemployment (with rates of youth unemployment across Europe between 25% and 50% of the 16-25 age group); and when the streets are the space of protest for Indignados and the Occupy Movement as well as for riots protesting police harassment and for the traditional demonstrations and marches and demands of the Trade Union Movement and the left (Davis,2011) , this paper contributes to the developing theorisations of street work as a ‘socio-educational practice’ ,drawing on a current proposal to develop a European Masters in Street Work. Street Work as it is understood by the authors of this paper does not only seek to engage young people, embracing as it does work with vulnerable adults through street drugs teams, sexual health teams engaging through outreach with sex workers and work with homeless population. However this paper draws in particular on UK traditions of detached youth work and on the practitioner research of the team of academics and street work practitioners currently developing a model for a professional ‘community of practice’ of street workers across Europe. It presents the dilemmas in both theory and practice which are shaping this emerging community of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991).
Policy-makers in security, social work and health have been drawn to street work and to detached youth work as offering access to the ‘hard to reach’ in order to fix social problems. In France, street workers refer to themselves as M.Bricolage (Dynamo International,2009; de St Croix,2010 ). The developing ‘community of practice’ which is supported by the work of Dynamo International is caught up with questions and tensions at a societal and professional as well as personal level which arise from histories of street work across Europe practiced in relationship with the courts, with police and sometimes against them. The ‘communities of the street’ themselves can be seen alternately as in need of rescue or reform, or, more romantically, as offering insights into alternative ways of living in the context of the fiscal and economic crisis currently engulfing Europe. (Tiffany,2007 ).
Furthermore, the left in Europe Histories historically regarded ‘street people’ with disdain as the lumpenproletariat in contrast with the respectable and organised working-class. This paper therefore seeks to address this historic deficit and to draw on contemporary feminist and post-colonial investigations to explore such issues as the relative place of women and men in the street and the significance of understandings from critical geography of how boundaries are constructed (against the intrusions of the state) and how borders are crossed especially in the context of EU and global concern with migration by the ‘Wretched of the earth.’ And,how, furthermore the network of professionals gathering under the sign of ‘streetwork’ seeks to respond drawing on contemporary themes in critical pedagogy. (Batsleer,2008)
Batsleer,J.(2008) Informal Learning in Youth Work London Sage Davis,M.(2011) ‘Winter Confronts Spring’ NLR 72 Second Series pp5-17 De St Croix,T. (2010) ‘Youth Work and the Surveillance State’ in ‘What is Youth Work?’ Batsleer,J and Davies,B. (eds) Exeter Learning Matters Lave,J. and Wenger,E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning,Meaning and Identity Cambridge University Press. Dynamo International (2009) : Streetwork An International Handbook Brussells Dynamo International Tiffany,G.(2007) Reconnecting Detached Youth Work UK Federation of Detached Youth Workers
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