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Policy and practice

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.

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International Perspectives on Childhood and Youth in Hard Times

Bringing together new, multidisciplinary research, this book explores how children and young people across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas experience and cope with situations of poverty and precarity.

It looks at the impact of neoliberalism, austerity and global economic crisis, evidencing the multiple harms and inequalities caused. It also examines the different ways that children, young people and families ‘get by’ under these challenging circumstances, showing how they care for one another and envisage more hopeful socio-political futures.

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This chapter briefly reviews some key themes from the diverse chapters in the book. It places an emphasis upon critical studies of the doing of youth policies. It argues that youth policies literally take place – as exemplified by every chapter in this book – and that, therefore, a geographical approach should remain central to analysis of youth policies and professional practices. It ends with some suggestions and provocations for future research, calling for an opening-up of critical geographies of childhood and youth to more hopeful, public and non-Western discourse.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This chapter introduces some of the broader academic and policy/practitioner contexts for the chapters in the book. It reviews work in social studies of childhood, children’s geographies and related disciplines. It explores the ‘relevance’ debate in geography, especially around public- and policy-relevant geographies. It introduces readers to key approaches to critical discourse and policy analysis. The final section summarises the key themes in the book before introducing each chapter in turn.

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This collection gives voice to children, young people and families at the sharp end of contemporary processes of neoliberalisations, austerities and economic crises in diverse global contexts. We wish this book was not necessary or timely. However, as three geographers who have worked with many children, young people and families in different settings over the last 15 years, we are writing from a deep sense of sadness and urgency. This book has developed out of our anger and concern that the lives and prospects of so many of our research participants have demonstrably been adversely affected by manifestations of neoliberalisations, austerities and economic crises. The book is also written from heartbreak that our own communities, families and lifecourses have been profoundly affected by the same horrible processes. So as a point of departure, the following three vignettes from our research introduce some key terms, processes and deeply affecting encounters which echo throughout the following chapters.

During the global financial crisis of 2007–08, John was in the middle of several research projects based in spaces of play, youthwork and social care in the English Midlands. These spaces and communities were radically transformed by subsequent public sector funding cuts. Literally all of the youth organisations John worked with back then have now closed; literally all of the youthworkers and practitioners he worked with were made redundant. Within a few years entire, taken-for-granted categories of work/space (‘the public library’, ‘the statutory youth service’) were downsized, decommissioned and – apparently permanently – deemed unviable.

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This book set out to illuminate the personal, everyday effects of hard times for children, young people and families in diverse global contexts. In this concluding chapter, we begin by outlining the contribution of the three Parts of the book and their constituent chapters to our understanding of the hard times which interlace with the lives of children, youth and families. Our focus on ‘hard times’ aims to shed light on all manner of structural inequalities, longstanding exclusions and power imbalances which are being constituted or intensified by neoliberalisations, austerities and economic crises. Elucidating the implications of these complexly relational, hurtful and deeply affecting moments leads us to reflect on the opportunities and prospects for socially-differentiated children and young people getting by and growing up in hard times. In bringing together neoliberalisations, austerities and economic crises, we recognise how these processes are lumped together, materially and spatially (Katz, 2004; 2018) and in people’s everyday experiences. Drawing the collection to a close, we consider further directions for research which is sensitive to the interrelations between broadscale political-economic shifts and locally-scaled, personally inflected inequalities.

Divided into three key Parts, the collection began with an exploration of the transformative impacts of hard times for children, youth and families at the sharp end of neoliberalisms, austerities and economic crises. Drawing on work from diverse international contexts, Part 1 explored the transformations which play out unevenly at personal, familial and local scales as a result of political-economic processes.

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