Working with young people in the UK: Considerations of race, religion and globalisation




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


This thesis overall is concerned with three cardinal considerations in relation to working with young people in a modern and fundamentally demographically changed Britain. These themes include considerations of how young people’s racial/ethnic origins and religious identity continue to shape how mainstream services interact with them as well as understanding how an increasingly globalised world changes how young people from Britain see or are seen in a new way at the personal, local, national and global levels. This thesis argues that the majority of these considerations are not currently well understood; hence the need for practitioners in youth and community development to gain cultural competency and global literacy.

It has been evidenced that Black young people continue to be disadvantaged in education, employment, criminal justice and a host of other socialisation spaces in comparison to the rest of society. In addition, the furore raised constantly and continuously in relation to the vulnerability of young Muslims to violent extremism deserves more critical attention. Furthermore, globalisation means that the world is much closer economically, politically, environmentally, technologically and culturally and there is increasing consciousness about the repercussions of these connections at the personal, local, national and global levels. However, questions remain as to whether practitioners who work with young people have the required competency to work across these racial, religious and global considerations. This thesis, consisting of the author’s published works and this overview explores these three cardinal considerations of race, religion and globalisation when working with young people in a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-faith modern Britain.

The thesis comprises an exploration of working with Black young people within a historical and social policy context, as well as presenting research that explores the views of young Black children and parents. The author’s key contributions consist of explaining how cultural relativism and dogmatism, as extreme positions, are constructed, with potentially fatal consequences. The second dimension of working with young people in Britain explored in this thesis is that arena of Global Youth Work within both a theoretical and practice setting, especially in relation to the training of practitioners. This section also reports on research in relation to how Global Youth Work is conceptualised and operationalised in British Higher Education Institutions delivering youth work training. The last section of the thesis focuses on the contemporary issue of working with young Muslims. Against a backdrop of the government’s policy context of the “Prevent" agenda, perceptions of barriers young Muslims face in accessing mainstream services are explored, as well as the wider implications of fostering a culturally and religiously competent way of working with young Muslims.



youth work, Black young people, global youth work, young Muslims, cultural competence, work with young people



Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice