Popular Education Practice for Youth and Community Development Work


Dave Beck & Rod Purcell

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    Foreword from the Authors

    This book is for everyone out there who still wants to change the world. It provides a theoretical underpinning for community development and youth work practice which has as its aims individual and collective empowerment and social transformation. It equips students and practitioners to both critique and develop alternatives to top-down, social planning models by providing them with a range of analytical and practice tools derived from the work of Paulo Freire.

    The book will provide students and practitioners with new and innovative ways to work with the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work and Community Development Work. It also introduces an alternative discourse to current policy debates: for example community regeneration, capacity building, social inclusion and the recent Community Development Challenge document from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

    This book is particularly needed now as many contemporary examples of practice fail to deliver increased participation, community empowerment or sustainable social change.

    Dave BeckRod PurcellDecember 2009

    Critical Pedagogy

    • All education is inherently political and all pedagogy must be aware of this condition.
    • A social and educational vision of justice and equality should ground all education.
    • Issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and physical ability are all important domains of oppression and critical anti-hegemonic action.
    • The alleviation of oppression and human suffering is a key dimension of educational purpose.
    • All positions including critical pedagogy itself must be problematized and questioned.
    • Education must both promote emancipatory change and the cultivation of the intellect.
    • Education often reflects the interests and needs of new modes of colonialism and empire. Such dynamics must be exposed, understood, and acted upon as part of critical transformative praxis.

    Foreword from the Series Editors

    Youth work and community work has a long, rich and diverse history that spans three centuries. The development of youth work extends from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with the emergence of voluntary groups and the serried ranks of the UK's many uniformed youth organisations, through to modern youth club work, youth project work and informal education. Youth work remains in the early twenty-first century a mixture of voluntary effort and paid and state sponsored activity.

    Community work also had its beginnings in voluntary activity. Some of this activity was in the form of ‘rescuing the poor’, whilst community action developed as a response to oppressive circumstances and was based on the idea of self-help. In the second half of the twentieth century the state financed a good deal of local authority and government sponsored community and regeneration work and now there are multi-various community action projects and campaigns.

    Today there are thousands of people involved in youth work and community work both in paid positions and in voluntary roles. However, the activity is undergoing significant change. National Occupation Standards and a new academic benchmarking statement have recently been introduced and soon all youth and community workers undertaking qualifying courses and who successfully graduate will do so with an honours degree.

    Empowering Youth and Community Work Practice is a series of texts primarily aimed at students on youth and community work courses. However, more experienced practitioners from a wide range of fields will find these books useful because they offer effective ways of integrating theory, knowledge and practice. Written by experienced lecturers, practitioners and policy commentators each title covers core aspects of what is needed to be an effective practitioner and will address key competences for professional JNC recognition as a youth and community worker. The books use case studies, activities and references to the latest government initiatives to help readers learn and develop their theoretical understanding and practice. This series then will provide invaluable support to anyone studying or practising in the field of youth and community work as well as a number of other related fields.

    Janet BatsleerManchester Metropolitan UniversityKeith PoppleLondon South Bank University


    We want to thank Kenny and Isobel from the Dopey Diner Cafe in Glasgow who allowed us to spend many hours drinking tea and planning this book.

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