Youth work – educative or preventative

Bernard Davies spoke at the 8th National Conference on the theme “Youth work – educative or preventative”.


One comment

  1. Hi Bernard

    This was a really interesting talk. I have thought in the past, somewhat tangentially, that it is interesting that youth work started as a kind of patronising initiative by members of the ‘upper classes’ – but interesting to have it brought home.

    In terms of your view of ‘having come full-circle’ and seeing a return to the original emphasis on ‘character building’ and morality – I see what you mean. But I also wonder if there aren’t differences between the Victorian kind of morality and what we see now. It seems to me that today we have not so much character building and morality (which may even have some good elements) but a kind of psychology of ‘personal development’. While this psychology may occasionally use language of ‘character building’ it is essentially instrumental and amoral. It is about manipulating young people into being docile consumers and producers. They should be apolitical, uncritical, ‘resilient’ and, above all, economically productive. I think it is a return but also a development.

    I think that maybe there was an element of morality in the work of the Victorian pioneers which has now simply vanished – as everything, and everyone, is subordinated to the exigencies of increasing productivity.


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