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Critical geographies of childhood and youth

Critical geographies of childhood and youth: Contemporary policy and practice

Peter Kraftl
John Horton
Faith Tucker
Copyright Date: 2012
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  • Book Info
    Critical geographies of childhood and youth
    Book Description:

    This original book explores the importance of geographical processes for policies and professional practices related to childhood and youth. Contributors from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds explore how concepts such as place, scale, mobility and boundary-making are important for policies and practices in diverse contexts. Chapters present both comprehensive cutting-edge academic research and critical reflections by practitioners working in diverse contexts, giving the volume wide appeal. The focus on the role of geographical processes in policies and professional practices that affect young people provides new, critical insights into contemporary issues and debates. The contributions show how local and national concerns remain central to many youth programmes; they also highlight how youth policies are becoming increasingly globalised. Examples are taken from the UK, the Americas and Africa. The chapters are informed by and advance contemporary theoretical approaches in human geography, sociology, anthropology and youth work, and will be of interest to academics and higher-level students in those disciplines. The book will also appeal to policy-makers and professionals who work with young people, encouraging them to critically reflect upon the role of geographical processes in their own work.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0907-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of tables, figures and boxes
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Notes on contributors
    (pp. viii-xiii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  6. one Editors’ introduction: critical geographies of childhood and youth
    (pp. 1-24)
    Peter Kraftl, John Horton and Faith Tucker

    In May 2010, a General Election resulted in a change of government in the United Kingdom. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition replaced the New Labour party that had ruled since 1997. Between 1997 and 2010, New Labour had launched a succession of ‘landmark’ policy programmes targeted at young people. Policies likeEvery child matters(DfES, 2004),Youth matters(DfES, 2005) and theNational service framework for children, young people and maternity services(DH, 2004) sought to improve safeguarding of, and service provision for, children and young people. Furthermore, the inclusion of the word ‘children’ in the name of the government department...

  7. Part I (Inter)national youth policies:: politics and practices of spatial translation

    • two Making ‘youth publics’ and ‘neuro-citizens’: critical geographies of contemporary educational practice in the UK
      (pp. 27-42)
      Jessica Pykett

      School life arguably dominates the everyday worlds of young people in countries such as the UK. In recognition of this, geographies of education constitute an increasingly varied and vibrant area of concern for geographers and educational theorists alike – incorporating the distinctive worlds of children and young people, the spatial division of opportunities, the global political economy of knowledge production and consumption, and issues of place-based identity and subject-formation. The aims of this chapter are two-fold. Firstly, it considers some of the ways in which recent progress in this field has been characterised in relation to the analytics of space, spatiality...

    • three Youth policy, neoliberalism and transnational governmentality: a case study of Lesotho and Malawi
      (pp. 43-60)
      Nicola Ansell, Flora Hajdu, Elsbeth Robson, Lorraine van Blerk and Elodie Marandet

      Over the past few decades governments worldwide have developed youth policies, encompassing diverse measures to address the problems and potentials of their younger populations. Hitherto, studies of these policies have focused on differentiating the goals and target groups inscribed in different national policies and on the relationship between youth policies and national political agendas. However, youth policies have not emerged independently in diverse countries; inter-governmental organisations and international discourses are involved. In this chapter we explore the value of Foucault’s concept of governmentality for understanding youth policies in this wider context. Notions of governmentality and biopower shed light on how...

    • four ‘Brighter futures, greener lives’: children and young people in UK sustainable development policy
      (pp. 61-78)
      Bethan Evans and Emma-Jay Honeyford

      In recent years, commentators have noted an increased focus on childhood in response to global fears of environmental degradation (Katz, 2008). This is part of a ‘generalising tendency to futurity’ (Horton and Kraftl, 2006, p 83) in policy engagements with children and young people (Mizen, 2003; Williams, 2004) evident across a range of policy contexts including child poverty (Prout,2000), school design (Kraftl,2011), obesity (Evans and Colls, 2009;2011;Evans,2010), youth criminal justice (Ruddick,2006),childhood hope (Kraftl,2008),aspiration and higher education widening participation policy (Brown, this volume, Chapter Six),and environmental and economic uncertainty (Katz,2008). In the case of environmental policy, the ‘futurity’ which characterises such...

    • five Places to go, things to do and people to see: space and activity in English youth work policy
      (pp. 79-94)
      Richard Davies

      This chapter is concerned with a specific ethical activity, that of youth work, and a specific location, England.¹ In particular, the chapter argues that the policy discourse about youth work has had too strong a focus on ‘institutions with presence’ and that this focus has a detrimental effect on the way effective youth work is conceptualised. As such it is not a work of ‘social geography’ or in fact any other discipline. Rather, it is concerned with the way in which policy-makers shape a particular arena of state activity. However, underlying the argument is the presumption that social geography (for...

  8. Part II Education and employment policies:: learning beyond schools and schools beyond learning

    • six The place of aspiration in UK widening participation policy: moving up or moving beyond?
      (pp. 97-114)
      Gavin Brown

      The thirteen years that New Labour held power in Britain (1997–2010) witnessed profound changes in the form and character of the British welfare state. During this period, as Raco (2009) has charted, British welfare policy became increasingly focused on the creation of ‘aspirational citizens’ who would take individual responsibility for ‘bettering’ themselves through upwards social mobility. He suggests that this ‘existential politics’ of aspiration has replaced an earlier ‘politics of expectation’ in which the state was the primary provider of welfare provision. The protests by school and university students regarding the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government’s proposals to raise the...

    • seven School choice versus social cohesion: examining the ways education policies shape children’s geographies in the UK
      (pp. 115-132)
      Susie Weller

      Over the past two decades children’s geographies within Britain have been shaped, in part, by an education system founded on quasi-market principles. As a result children, particularly those in urban areas, may attend a school some distance from home. Little attention has been afforded to the implications of such policies on children’s geographies and, more specifically, on their opportunities to create neighbourhood social capital by making connections with and within the spaces surrounding their homes and beyond. Drawing on a four-year study that explored the significance of social capital for children and parents during the transition to secondary school, this...

    • eight Lunchtime lock-in: territorialisation and UK school meals policies
      (pp. 133-150)
      Jo Pike and Derek Colquhoun

      What children eat at school has emerged as one of the most significant public health concerns in the UK over the last decade. During the office of the New Labour government in the UK (1997–2010) and in particular following the re-election of the Blair government in 2001, school meals became the cause célèbre of public health practitioners, dieticians and celebrities alike. As a central component of government attempts to halt the year-on-year rise in childhood obesity (HM Treasury, 2007), waves of legislation introduced increasingly stringent standards stipulating precisely what kinds of foods should be served at lunchtime and throughout...

    • nine Informal education in compulsory schooling in the UK: humanising moments, utopian spaces?
      (pp. 151-166)
      Isabel Cartwright

      Western approaches to education typically focus on formal education, characterised by a structured curriculum, formal setting and compulsory attendance. Yet much of what we learn happens more informally. It has been shown that informallearningcan help increase individuals’ self-confidence, improve their social skills and contribute to an increasing commitment to citizenship, social identity and social capital (Cullen et al, 2000). However, the attempt to facilitate informal learning–informaleducation–is a practice that is little known and, partly as a result of its emphasis on experiential learning, has lacked research. This situation is beginning to be addressed in research...

  9. Part III Intervening in ‘everyday life’:: scales, practices and the ‘spatial imagination’ in youth policy and professional practice

    • ten A free for all? Scale and young people’s participation in UK transport planning
      (pp. 169-184)
      John Barker

      Although a long-standing and heavily contested concept (see Cox, 1998; Marston et al, 2005; Ansell, 2009), scale has been used by geographers and other social scientists to refer to different orders of social processes to explore many diverse aspects of the social world. Scale is neither natural nor preexisting and levels of order of social action are socially organised and constructed (for example, in classic ‘nested’ scales like local, regional, national or global). However, there are ongoing debates as to how scales should be conceptualised and how scales are ordered, linked and relate. One strand of these discussions focuses on...

    • eleven Including young people in heritage conservation in southern Brazilian cities: the case of Pelotas
      (pp. 185-198)
      Laura Novo de Azevedo

      Although the notion and practice of heritage conservation is widespread, with a set of internationally agreed principles defined by UNESCO and ICOMOS,¹ the questions ofwhat and whose ‘heritage’?still court controversy. One critique is that heritage conservation is an elitist practice both produced and consumed by only a few groups in society (Pendlebury and Townshend, 1997; Jokilehto, 1999). Even though the need for heritage conservation policies to respond to values of wider society has been exhorted in the academic literature (Avrami, 2000; Jokilehto, 2002; Turnpenny, 2004), the practice of heritage conservation is often perceived as contradictory. In the UK,...

    • twelve Anchoring identity: the construction of responsibility for and by young offenders in the US
      (pp. 199-214)
      Alexandra Cox

      This chapter poses some theoretical propositions and raises questions for empirical analysis about young people’s perspectives on responsibility in the context of a criminal case. Legally coercive interventions which are administered to young offenders in the juvenile courts are said to be aimed at re-shaping, responsibilising and governing young people’s selves (Muncie and Hughes, 2002; Muncie, 2006). This responsibilising demand is twofold: adolescents in the criminal justice system must be able both to express responsibility with respect to social citizenship but also to demonstrate appropriate development into adulthood. This chapter is concerned with some of the ways that court actors...

    • thirteen Parenting policy and the geographies of friendship: encounters in an English Sure Start Children’s Centre
      (pp. 215-230)
      Eleanor Jupp

      This chapter is based on research undertaken at one Sure Start Children’s Centre in Oxford, UK,¹ and the question above was posed rhetorically during an interview with a worker (although formally a user), as she talked about the difficulties of encouraging ‘local’ parents to access the centre. Her question, was also, in some ways, my own research question, in that I was broadly interested in understanding the meanings and uses of Children’s Centres as a particular kind ofspace.As explored below, Children’s Centres are neighbourhood-based spaces aimed at children under five and their families which have been developed over...

    • fourteen Youth homelessness policy in Wales: improving housing rights and addressing geographical wrongs
      (pp. 231-246)
      Peter K. Mackie

      Over the past decade youth homelessness has received increasing political priority in the UK (Quilgars et al,2008) and across much of the developed world (Chamberlain and MacKenzie, 2004; Minnery and Greenhalgh,2007; USICH,2010). The extent of prioritisation varies between countries; with arguably the most significant changes having taken place in Scotland, where the entire homelessness system has been redesigned (Scottish Executive, 2005;Anderson 2007). In the rest of the UK changes have been significant but less extensive. For example, the statutory safety net has been widened, rather than fundamentally redesigned and, like most developed world countries, homelessness prevention interventions have been prioritised....

    • fifteen Childhood in South Africa in the time of HIV/AIDS: reconsidering policy and practice
      (pp. 247-262)
      Amy Norman

      In the wake of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, a ‘crisis of childhood’ has been presented, the result of a complex interplay between globalised notions of childhood, the international media, development policy, and donor agendas. Today, there are an estimated 12 million ‘orphans’¹ due to AIDS, and two million children have been infected with HIV (UNAIDS, 2008). In South Africa, the most highly affected country in the world, 3.7 million children, or 20 per cent of all children have been classified as orphans (Meintjes and Hall, 2009). These burgeoning statistics have created a sense of urgency within policy and...

  10. Part IV Concluding reflections

    • sixteen Concluding reflections: what next and where next for critical geographies of youth policy and practice?
      (pp. 265-270)
      Peter Kraftl, John Horton and Faith Tucker

      The chapters in this collection demonstrate the various ways in which spatial forms, processes, metaphors and practices are often fundamental to youth policy and practice. Individually and collectively, the chapters highlight how space and place matter to the formulation, application and experience of youth policies, and contemporary policy discourses more generally. As outlined in the editorial introduction, the chapters have in common a sense of criticality. Some are critical of the problematic ways in which young people are ‘placed’ by policies for education, health, transport and housing, and of the ongoing difficulties in allowing children rights within diverse geographical contexts....

  11. Index
    (pp. 271-279)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 280-281)