Young people, welfare and crime: governing non-participation

Fergusson, Ross (2016). Young people, welfare and crime: governing non-participation. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.



Mass youth unemployment is now endemic and almost ubiquitous in middle-income, rich and poor countries alike. This book re-interprets the changing relationship between young people’s non-participation in education and labour markets, their access to state welfare and their involvement in crime by locating it in historical, political-economic and policy contexts in the UK and internationally before, during and after the Global Financial Crisis. It provides a critical assessment of evidence about the causes of non-participation in academic analysis and in policy-making.
The principal aim of the book is to establish the non-participation-welfare-crime relationship at the centre of critical policy analysis in the fields of social and criminal justice policies as they shape the lives and life-chances of young people. It endeavours to circumnavigate the analytical limitations of working within a single tradition of youth studies, and works deliberately across historical separations between policy fields, social science disciplines and theoretical traditions which have, it argues, restricted the development of understanding of the relationship. It queries interpretations founded on dominant analytical approaches and places theories of governance and criminalisation at the centre of analysis.
Part One sets out the context and aims of the book. Part Two focuses on data, research and policy in relation to work, welfare and crime, and on the limitations of the contested analyses they have generated. Part Three introduces two theorists whose work offers new ways of understanding non-participation and its relationship with welfare and crime. Part Four applies these understandings to argue that dominant modes of the governance of non-participation are becoming increasingly criminalising in their effects.

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