Challenging, Critical New Year Reading

First up, a sweeping and thought-provoking  extended review of Henry Giroux’s Youth in a Suspect Society by Doug Nicholls.

He ends by arguing:

Youth work for young people.

So we find ourselves with young people at the centre of the neoliberal target and the critical pedagogy that we represent not far away from it. Young people will suffer more unless youth workers restore their conviction and practice in a socialist inspired, radical critique of society and an engagement of young people and communities in collective action for change.

We have always understood culture as Giroux does “as an activity in which young people actually produce the conditions of their own agency through dialogue, community participation, public stories, and political struggle.”  It is the defence and reassertion of this culture that is now at stake.

Both Doug’s review and Henry Giroux’s book  raise all manner of issues, which demand further debate. I hope critical responses are in the offing.

Secondly we’re chuffed to bring you the news that the first edition of CONCEPT’s web-based journal is on-line at

Amongst the riches to be found there are Mae Shaw on ‘Repoliticising Democracy’, which is itself partially a response to a cutting critique of the Edinburgh Papers [to be found on our Contemporary Critical Thoughts page] by Bob Hamilton, The Pedagogy of the Depressed and Paolo Freire : A Beginners’ Guide by Emilio Lucio-Villegas.

Thirdly we tripped over to our considerable interest Justin Wyllie ‘completing the Every Child Matters statistical monitoring form in connection with the volunteering work he does with a young person for his local authority’ prior to reflecting seriously upon its implications across the board. He concludes that  ‘New Labour’s Every Child Matters agenda is underpinned by a diminished technological vision of human beings. It is an arrogant and foolish idea to ignore local communities and traditions, teachers and youth workers and supplant these with a national script for the upbringing of every child, written up in Whitehall. At best it is a misguided attempt to produce more economically productive young people and a more homogeneous society.’

I suspect that his libertarian analysis will not be to everyone’s taste, but I don’t think it can be ignored.

More links to critical writing soon.

Best Wishes for 2010

Χρονια Πολλα


Youth & Policy and CONCEPT go Digital

The two leading journals in the fields of Youth Work and Youth policy, Community Education and Community Development, Youth & Policy and CONCEPT respectively, are about to enter a new and exciting era.  Having lost their publishers, the National Youth Agency and the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education, both have decided to launch themselves afresh as web based journals.

At this moment we are awaiting the latest news about CONCEPT’s rebirth on November 20 from our Scottish friends, whilst we have received the following message from the editorial board of Youth&Policy.

As you may be aware due to financial difficulties the NYA has closed its publications unit and as a consequence will not be publishing Youth and Policy in the future.

The Youth and Policy Editorial Board have been expecting this decision for sometime and as a consequence have devoted considerable time to planning the future direction and style of the journal.

Two publishers expressed a wish to ‘sign us up’ and this would certainly have secured the long term future of the journal. However although this route may appear superficially attractive we have decided not to join a major publishing house. Our reasons for taking this decision are:-

1.      The cover price of the journal following such a move would probably double and therefore it would lose a sizeable proportion of its non university-based readership;

2.      Although it would be readily available electronically to university students and staff it would not be accessible to practitioners and others via this method.

As a consequence we have opted to re-launch ourselves as a free web based journal. Some web journals are of a poor quality but we intend to invest a sizeable proportion of the reserves we have built-up during the last 25 years in employing professional programmers who will produce an attractive and accessible web journal. Thus from early 2010 Youth and Policy be available three times a year and contain, as before, a range of articles and reviews.

We remain committed to providing a critical space to discuss policy and practice relating to young people in society. We hope you will continue to enjoy the journal in its new format. Those subscribers with outstanding paid subscriptions will be refunded for your unused portions. Publication will now be suspended until 2010 while we restructure and prepare for the web-based launch. We have also created a facebook group entitled ‘Youth & Policy’ which should be accessible via the following link: (you will be prompted to log into a facebook account in order to access this group).

Thanks for your patience during our very own ‘digital switch-over’, and please do keep in touch!

Yours sincerely

Tony, Jean, Ruth, Aylssa, Tracey and Naomi

Youth & Policy editorial group.


Selfishly we are very pleased with these developments. It means that the material from both these challenging publications will be readily available for comment and criticism. In the past stimulating pieces have often gathered dust on library shelves. This time round there is a greater chance of encouraging responses to challenging articles, of creating a genuine dialogue about the issues raised. To be honest there is every possibility that we can widen the readership of both these pioneering journals. We can’t wait to see the first new editions – must be an excuse for a celebratory drink!

PS  CONCEPT is short for the Journal of Contemporary Community Education Practice Theory.  You have to admit it is snappier!

PPS Now what would be brilliant is if both journals downloaded all their past copies into archives. But this is being giddy. For instance Y&P is up to Number 102! We’ll leave this possibility to another day.

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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