Working in welfare: Youth policy's contradictions and dilemmas

Phil Mizen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


As human beings we live in societies whose structures and cultures seem to confront us as alien forces beyond our control, ways of living into which we involuntarily enter and whose presence is felt in terms of a powerful, sometimes determining, presence over the conduct of our lives. Yet as human beings we are also aware of our own powers to determine future courses of action. As active agents in possession of what sociologists may refer to as a uniquely reflexive quality, we hold understandings of how we exist in relation to the social contexts in and through which we live, and how these forces exert an influence over our preferred ways of living and working (Archer 2005). It is from this reflexive character, this essential and universal condition of human existence, that the powers of structural and cultural forces are mediated by us as human subjects. When faced with social contexts that appear to stand in our way or which we are not readily inclined to follow, it is from our reflexivity that we go about the redefinition of our ongoing concerns, draw upon those resources over which we can exercise some command, formulate new ways of working, and resist or cooperate with whatever it is that seems to impede our sense of what is right and proper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthical Issues in Youth Work
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
EditorsSarah Banks
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2010


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