Ever since we set up our first site, we’ve wanted to make a start on bringing together critical pieces from the past, which still have resonance and relevance. Armed with a decent free ware scanning programme we are on our way. A significant issue is clearing that the original authors are happy for their work to be recycled. At this moment we are discussing with our friends at CONCEPT, the Scottish  Community Education journal, whether we might raid their archives. All the more so as the group has yet to set up its own site and there are a fund of provocative and pertinent pieces gathering dust. In addition we look forward to your suggestions for inclusion on this page.

Stuttering Steps in Political Education

Given that I wrote this piece in collaboration with Roy Ratcliffe it was pretty straightforward to sort out the permission to publish! It appeared in Schooling and Culture, which was produced by the Cultural Studies Department of the Inner London Education Authority’s Cockpit Arts Workshop. Issue 9, Spring 1981 was entitled ‘YOUTH, COMMUNITY: CRISIS’.  On its back cover it claimed, this issue ‘identifies and expands upon predicaments currently being faced by youth and community workers. In the present cuts climate many workers in the Youth and Community Service are struggling to make political calculations that can hold open the door for progressive practice. This issue examines some of these recent developments. Contributions include discussion of the implications of feminism for youth and community work, critical appraisals of social education and the politics of political education and examinations of changing state policies on youth and community questions.’

We hope to carry more of these contributions on future Blogs, such as ‘Social Education and Political Education: In Search of Integration’ by Bernard Davies and ‘Girls aren’t really a Problem’ by Mica Nava.

As for our offering it was rooted in our experience of trying to develop a politicised youth work, which seemed to be supported by the official statements of the Youth Service. It began:

Within the present political and economic climate the Youth Service is once again in depression. The future is clouded. However, crises are a recurrent feature of youth work’s recent history and the response thus far suggests that the field is sceptical of this latest Armageddon. “Wolf’s been cried once too often!”—it is merely a time to keep one’s head down until the situation passes over. We would hope that this latest trough is not the slough of a very desperate despond. It is not just the Youth Service that faces calamity, but the whole of liberal education. Strategies of resistance are urgently needed. Here we wish to share our experiences about the attempted development of a Social Education Programme for a local authority statutory Youth Service and so participate in producing a positive collective response to the conservative onslaught.

Continue the tale at


Published on February 23, 2009 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

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