A better understanding of youth work’s historical links with social work can help us to shape its relationship with social work in the future.
This sixth publication in the History of Youth Work in Europe project based on the workshop held in Malta – Connections, Disconnections and Reconnections: The Social Dimension of Youth Work, in History and Today – looks at the relationship between youth work and social work and the role youth work can play in the social inclusion of young people. Contributors have reflected on concepts, tools and support measures for more vulnerable and often socially excluded young people and have sought to promote a common understanding of youth work as a social practice.
The workshop that led to this book sought to understand where youth work has positioned itself from its origins, through its development, to its contemporary identity. Is youth work as much a social practice as a non-formal educational one? Where does the balance between these two dimensions lie? What are the mutually enriching dimensions of these two fields in terms of their impact on young people’s lives?
While most agree that youth work needs to be further defined as a practice or profession in itself and that the process of shaping its identity continues in different ways in different countries, it is clear that when it comes to a cross-sectoral perspective and youth work’s interaction with social work, the picture becomes significantly more complex, arguably much richer and certainly more dynamic than might have hitherto been foreseen.