Managing the disconnect: A critical case study of neoliberalism in youth development practice
Aims: This critical ethnography interrogates the influence of neoliberalism on youth development practice as instituted by the evidence-based practice and positive youth development movements. Methods: I employed participant observation and grounded theory analyses in my role as facilitator of a youth participatory action research program in the context of violence prevention work at a large urban youth development agency. Results: The disconnect between professionalized youth development and the lived experience of youth manifested in organizational policies and practices and meant that the agency had to balance competing interests and worldviews, reconcile the need for funding with social justice aims, and cope with the consequences of such conflicts. Conclusions: Neoliberalism exacerbates a disconnect between youth development practice and youth experience, contributing to an epistemic form of violence. Results are discussed in relation to Martín-Baró liberation framework, which emphasizes the recovery of historical memory, deideologizing everyday experience, and utilizing the virtues of oppressed people.
Journal of Community Psychology
Coleman, Brett R., "Managing the disconnect: A critical case study of neoliberalism in youth development practice" (2021). Psychology. 254.