Warren Clarke (2015) “Youth Outreach Work: Using Solidarity to Empower Marginalized Youth”

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Categories: Paper, Youth Voice Journal


What approaches do Toronto youth outreach workers (YOWs) use to make meaningful ties with marginalized youth, so that youth become interested in their own social development? To answer this question, I explored the practices that YOWs use to build reciprocal relationships with marginalized youth. Seventeen Toronto YOWs shared their experiences of working with marginalized youth, their perceptions of the issues faced by youth, and their specific strategies of support. By using Sherry Ortner’s practice theory, I identified that what she calls “relations of solidarity” are present in the support relationships between YOWs and marginalized youth. The tie between the YOWs and the youth is a mutual bond that includes non-judgement, reciprocity, and compassion. This study indicates that practice theory and relations of solidarity are useful because they expose the nature of the relationship between marginalized youth and YOWs, and reveal how YOWs are able to support and educate marginalized youth.

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