Refelecting on the past - Essays in teh history of youth and community work

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By Ruth Gilchrist, Tracey Hodgson, Tony Jeffs, Jean Spence, Naomi Stanton and Joyce Walkers

Large format paperback, 192 pages

Published 2011

This book is designed to encourage the search for better solutions, more enlightened policies and ways of working with young people that stimulate dialogue and democracy rather than uniformity and conformity.

The essays show the authors' enthusiasm and determination to expose and preserve the cord of history linking contemporary practitioners with those who went before.

Thoughtful reflection on what once worked - and what did not - is, however, often perceived by those pushing an agenda of reform as something that merely slows down implementation.

According to their world view, concern for the ideas and movements that brought us to where we are today is a distraction. History is relegated to the status of 'hobby' and the cord linking us to the past is no longer seen as a precious thread offering a route to greater understanding , but as a rope tied to a sheet-anchor preventing progress.

Excluding from the policy forum, and driven from the academy and lecture-hall, the study of the history of community and youth work has, as a result, become an oppositional activity.

As a branch of learning it will almost certainly be more vigorous and vibrant as a result of the exclusion. In this absorbing book it is also underpinned by the editors' belief that dissent is an essential component of intellectual and social process.

All those with work with young people - youth and community workers, social workers, teachers, as well as students, researchers, lecturers and tutors.

Tony Jeffs is an editor of Youth and Policy, part-time teachers at Durham University and member of the Institute of Applied Social Research, Bedfordshire University.

Jean Spence - Durham University School of Social Sciences and member of the editorial board of Youth and Policy.

Tracey Hodgson is a member of the Youth and Policy editorial board and a researcher working with Durham University and West End Women and Girls' Centre, Newcastle.

Naomi Stanton is researching Christian Formation in young people at the Open University. She is also a part-time youth worker and a member of the editorial board of the journal Youth and Policy.

Joyce Walker - University of Minnesota, Extension Center for Youth Development.


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