• Young people leaving care: plans, challenges and discourses

      Lamond, Catherine (2016-09)
      This small-scale study explored plans for four young people leaving care and the perspectives of twelve key adults supporting them. Using Fairclough’s model of critical discourse analysis, the rationale for this research was concern about the difference in outcomes between care leavers and young people in general. Aims were to explore if contradictions in plans and ideas contributed to problems for the young people, and to examine explanations and justifications made by the adult participants. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews from an opportunistic sample. Findings indicated that the established problem of young people having to leave care too early persists in spite of initiatives to prevent this happening. Theories drawn from the psychology of child development influence the professionals’ constructions of the young people, thereby limiting the responses which adults can offer. It is proposed that neoliberal discourses of individual responsibility and continuous self-improvement constrain systems which encourage young people to leave care before they are ready. Two concepts of chop (abrupt change, such as end of school phase) and churn (disruption, such as staff turnover) are used to examine how frequent disturbance in the life of a looked after child is exacerbated by points of rupture which are caused by the structures of children’s services. This study adds to calls for increased stability for young people, and recommends earlier planning for the future of young people in care. Implications for educational practice are presented, including the need to ensure that leaving mainstream education for segregated provision is not an irreversible decision. It is suggested that educators should consider critically the labelling of looked after children as having Special Educational Needs, as this can lead to practices which encourage compliance by young people, and pathologise resistance which could instead be re-framed as self-reliance.
    • Young people’s perceptions of novel psychoactive substances

      Freeman, Jodie (2018)
      Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) also known as “legal highs” replicate the effects of illegal substances such as ecstasy and cocaine. The most common NPS reported are stimulants and synthetic cannabinoids. Despite the Psychoactive Ban (2016) recent reports identified the UK as having the largest market of NPS use anywhere in Europe. These substances have a short history of consumption and consequently little is known about their effects and health implications. Despite this, the sale of NPS is easily achieved through the internet and street dealers. Increased reports of negative health consequences from NPS consumption and research findings highlighting the willingness of young people to consume drugs without knowing what they are, mean it is vital that we investigate young people’s understandings and perceptions of them. At present there are very few in-depth qualitative studies on NPS. A series of 7 focus groups with a range of young people (40=N: aged 16- 24 years) across the Merseyside area were carried out. Research sites included colleges, youth groups, supported living accommodations, and youth drug and alcohol services. Focus group interviews explored participants’ perceptions of NPS and were followed up with a few semi structured interviews with selected participants. The direction of the study focused on mainly on synthetic cannabinoids which may reflect the age of the study’s population. Using thematic analysis informed by a social constructionist perspective, three main themes were identified around stigma and identity, attractive features of NPS and risk. Findings showed that young people’s perceptions of these substances were dependent on their level of experience with illegal substances and NPS. A novel finding was that synthetic cannabinoid use is employed in the normalisation of cannabis use. Local, national and policy recommendations are made on how youth and health services in both educational and specialised services could work more closely and effectively with young people NPS. They also identify a need among young people for specific guidelines on how to use the Internet and Print media in relation to previous knowledge and experience.
    • Youth Culture and the Politics of Youth in 1960s Cuba

      Luke, Anne (University of Wolverhampton, 2007)
      The triple coordinates of youth, the Sixties and the Cuban Revolution interact to create a rich but relatively unexplored field of historical research. Previous studies of youth in Cuba have assumed a separation between young people and the Revolution, and either objectify young people as units that could be mobilized by the Revolution, or look at how young people deviated from the perceived dominant ideology of the Revolution. This study contends that, rather than being passive in the face of social and material change, young people in 1960s Cuba were active agents in that change, and played a role in defining what the Revolution was and could become. The model built here to understand young people in 1960s Cuba is based on identity theory, contending that youth identity was built at the point where young people experienced – and were responsible for forging – an emerging dominant culture of youth. The latter entered Cuban consciousness and became, over the course of the 1960s, a part of the dominant national-revolutionary identity. It was determined by three factors: firstly, leadership discourse, which laid out the view of what youth could, should or must be within the Revolution, and also helped to forge a direct relationship between the Revolution and young people; secondly, policy initiatives which linked all youth-related policy to education, therefore linking policy to the radical national tradition stemming from Martí; and thirdly, influence from outside Cuba and the ways in which external youth movements and youth cultures interplayed with Cuban culture. Through these three, youth was in the ascendancy, but, where young people challenged the positive picture of youth, moral panics ensued. Young people were neither inherent saints nor accidental sinners in Cuba in the 1960s, and sought multiple ways in which to express themselves. Firstly, they played their role as activists through the youth organisations, the AJR and the UJC. These young people were at the cutting edge of the canonised vision of youth, and consequently felt burdened by a failure to live up to such an ideal. Secondly, through massive voluntary participation in building the Revolution, through the Literacy Campaign, the militias and the aficionados groups, many young people in the 1960s internalised the Revolution and developed a revolutionary consciousness that defines their generation today. Finally, at the margin of the definition of what was considered revolutionary sat young cultural producers – those associated with El Puente, Caimán Barbudo and the Nueva Trova, and their audience – who attempted to define and redefine what it meant to be young and revolutionary. These groups all fed the culture of youth, and through them we can start to understand the uncertainties of being young, revolutionary and Cuban in this effervescent and convulsive decade.