‘It’s helped me with my anger and I’m realising where I go in life’: the impact of a Scottish youth work / schools intervention on young people’s responses to social strain and engagement with anti-social behaviour and gang culture

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Moral panics relating to anti-social youth have accelerated in recent years, and there has been an increasing recognition that preventing problematic behaviour is more effective than sanctions once it occurs. Drawing upon General Strain Theory, this paper explores the social pressures that might stimulate anti-social behaviour and gang culture. It explores the impact of schools/youth work partnerships, focusing upon empirical data arising from a small-scale educational intervention involving vulnerable young people (aged 11–12) in Glasgow. The findings illustrate that the 35 young people who participated in the initiative gained an increase in social capital, changed their reactions to social strains and demonstrated a change in their self-reported participation in anti-social behaviour. However, the participants continued to view teachers and youth workers as two distinct groups with differing ideologies, and a collaborative ‘border-crossing’ pedagogy was never fully realised. The paper draws upon the insights to identify future implications for policy, practice and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-114
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Post-Compulsory Education
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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