Young people in post-conflict Northern Ireland
The past cannot be changed, but the future can be developed
Edited by Dirk Schubotz and Paula Devine

To see sections of this book in a PDF, please click here.

As Northern Ireland's young people now come of age with no memories of the Troubles, and with all the same issues and opportunities as 'txt generation' young people elsewhere, this critically important resource is for anyone:
  • interested in a unique and crucial time in Northern Ireland
  • involved in or studying education, sociology, youth work, social work, community work, and political representation - whether in Northern Ireland, across the UK, Ireland or beyond.

  • "The Northern Ireland conflict has been one of the most thoroughly-researched conflicts in the world. So, what has this book to offer beyond what has already been said about Northern Ireland? We believe that the cessation of paramilitary violence opens up the opportunity to focus on issues affecting young people which in the past have been overlooked due to the sheer impact that the Northern Ireland conflict has had on the lives of people living here." The editors.

    Written by leading authorities reflecting on a broad-based, holistic and participative survey of 16-year-olds over the first decade of post-conflict Northern Ireland, it contains:
  • messages that readers can draw out when considering other post-conflict, segregated or troubled societies
  • voices of young people, particularly their frustration at those seeking to make a difference in one such 'headline' society too often approaching them with stereotypical assumptions
  • explanations of the worries that lie beyond such assumptions
  • explorations of the wishes for much the same things as young people elsewhere
  • insight into how being 16 has changed across the first decade of the 'txt generation'.

  • This multi-faceted study of young people's lives and communities is a reminder that making a difference requires us to work across all parts of their lives, not just on those issues that most powerfully present themselves.

    It is based on The Young Life and Times (YLT) annual postal survey of approximately 2,000 16-year olds, which has been systematically collecting information since 1998. YLT is one of the key activities of ARK, a joint initiative by the two Northern Irish universities. Reliable, robust and ongoing, it monitors changes in attitudes and behaviour over time.

    The analysis and insight presented in this book go far beyond YLT's occasional short Research Updates and its raw data and results tables from the survey, available at .This book offers fresh insight and analysis of young people's lives and times. It addresses not just what we expect to hear about when NI is being discussed: violence, sectarianism, faith-segregated schooling, cross-community contact, politics, peace process. But also: inward migration, mental health, suicide rates, bullying, pupil participation, sexual health, poverty, class, and how best to find out about these things in robust ways that involve young people in shaping the process.

    It includes Is Anybody Listening? - a prize-winning essay in a 2007 competition open to all Northern Ireland's 16-year-olds.

    Paperback. 144 pages. 978-1-905541-34-8. 2008. £14.95.


  • Students, lecturers, researchers and policymakers in education, youth work, social work, community work, social policy, politics.
  • Practitioners and managers in these same areas who strive to work holistically with children and young people in all aspects of their lives.
  • Anyone interested in contemporary Northern Ireland.
  • Anyone with a special interest in children and young people in post-conflict and/or segregated societies.


    Preface Paula Devine & Dirk Schubotz, both of Queen's University Belfast

    Foreword Robert Bell, Carnegie United Kingdom Trust

    Introduction Paula Devine & Dirk Schubotz

    Shared or scared? Attitudes to community relations among young people 2003-7 Duncan Morrow, Northern Ireland Community Relations Council

    Adolescent mental health in Northern Ireland: empirical evidence from the Young Life and Times Survey Katrina Lloyd, Queen's University Belfast, Ed Cairns, Claire Doherty & Kate Ellis, all of University of Ulster

    Tackling bullying in schools: the role of pupil participation Ruth Sinclair, National Children's Bureau Northern Ireland

    Honesty about sex and relationships - it's not too much to ask for Simon Blake, Brook

    Diversity or diversion? Experiences of education in Northern Ireland Tony Gallagher, Queen's University Belfast

    Young people's thoughts on poverty Alex Tennant & Marina Monteith, Save the Children Northern Ireland

    Is anybody listening? Shaun Mulvenna, a young person from Northern Ireland

    Giving young people a voice via social research projects: methodological challenges Dirk Schubotz & Paula Devine

    Appendix: technical details of YLT survey


    Dirk Schubotz
    is Young Life and Times Director at ARK at Queen's University Belfast, where he is also Research Fellow in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work. He has published on a range of issues affecting young people in Northern Ireland, in particular community relations and sexual health.

    Paula Devine is Research Director at ARK, Queen's University Belfast, where she is also Senior Social Survey Officer in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work. She is the co-ordinator of the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, which is an annual survey of adults living in Northern Ireland. She has been co-author and co-editor for most of the edited volumes based on social attitudes survey data in Northern Ireland.


    "The message of the book is that we have a lot to learn from our youth, if we take the trouble to listen to themů The contribution they make, when they are consulted, can help society with endemic problems such as bullying. The research also shows that the roots of some problems lie in the attitudes young people develop through lack of adequate information." Therapy Today.