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5. Youth Work

Fillip Coussee, PhD (Gent University): Youth Work as Field of Social Work

Throughout Europe we observe a complex youth work field. There are many definitions of youth work. This reflects the huge diversity in methods, areas and target groups. There are also dilemmas to live up to. On the one hand, the aim to increase the participation in youth work has led to a very differentiated and diverse field. On the other hand, this differentiation led to the reinforcement of already existing dividing lines between young people. In many cases youth policymakers and practitioners try to eliminate all tensions in youth work practice. History however teaches us that the social aspect of youth work in that case will be eliminated itself. In this workshop we make a case for the resocialisation of youth work, arguing that the most important question is NOT how to lead young people into youth work, but rather how young people can and may be present in society.