Exploring Urban Youth Culture Outside of the Gang Paradigm
Critical Questions of Youth, Gender and Race On-Road
Editors: , , and

9: ‘He’s shown me the road’: Role Model and Roadman


This chapter outlines a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between male adult youth work professionals characterised, or as I shall argue, positioned, as ‘role models’ and young men positioned as ‘roadmen’. It begins with a critique of social policy that promotes male role models for young men in the UK, as it relates to both formal and informal education settings. It then sets out a theoretical perspective on masculine subjectivities using positioning and psychosocial theory and highlights some implications for our understanding of relationships between male youth professionals and young men. Using a closely observed case study of a young Black man and his older White male youth worker, the author argues that male youth workers seeking to proffer alternative ‘roads’ for younger men need to develop a deep, reflexive awareness of their own and young men’s identity constructions. The chapter concludes that social policy making and professional training regimes may need to be more acutely attuned to the complexity of these professional relationships.

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