• Camilla Joanna Nielsen
This master’s thesis examines crime prevention among young adults from subcultural street environments, who move in the periphery of deviant and criminal groups. The study is being conducted in cooperation with the Copenhagen Municipal 18+ Program which seeks to work with this group of young adults through various initiatives.

The study is based on qualitative research, including 13 interviews with employees from the Copenhagen Municipal 18+ Program. Theoretically, the study draws upon contributions from the early youth-subcultural studies by the Chicago School and more recent Bourdieu inspired youth-subcultural studies, respectively in an American and a Nordic context. Furthermore, the study includes elements from the recent riskfocused research as this paradigm characterizes much of the crime prevention field in a Danish context.

The purpose of the study is to identify which conditions and factors are being considered essential by the 18+ employees, in order to understand the need for action and focus areas of their practice with the young adults. Thereby the study contributes with knowledge about the conditions and factors that, according to some of the professional actors closest to the field, either increases or decreases the chances of young adults developing deviant or criminal behavior, and thus which conditions the work with the young adults should concentrate on and increase focus on in the future.

The study shows that the 18+ employees focus on the upbringing, socioeconomic background and numerous risk factors affecting the young adults during childhood, youth and adolescence as being crucial for their limited social possibilities in society and increased risk of ending up in a criminal career. The employees are particularly concerned that the young adults’ longstanding interaction with their surroundings often results in an advanced form of marginalization and a fundamental alienation from society, which becomes crucial to their selfunderstanding and narratives about themselves, as respectively deviants, or victims of the circumstances they are subject to, and thus for their actions through life.

Based on these understandings, and with the recognition that the young adults have been subject to several conditions and factors through life that cannot be changed, the employees’ practice focuses on taking action in the form of protection against dynamic risk factors that may have effect in young adulthood, and hence may be subject to positive influence. Despite the employees' focus on the importance of having been subject to advanced marginalization and multiple risk factors through life, they do not consider the young adults as passive victims of circumstances, but as strong, resourceful actors, who just have to learn how to use their resources in the mainstream society. Because of that, much of the 18+ work is consequently concentrated on supporting the young adults in overcoming the narratives about themselves, as deviants, or victims of external constraints as these only contribute to maintaining a marginalized position.

The 18+ practice are thus in a field of tension between understanding the young adults as fairly entrenched in social background variables and as being resourceful actors who in spite of their situation have the opportunity to influence and change their own lives. Despite the fact that much can be done for young adults by setting in against risk factors and influencing their behavior and selfunderstanding, which is crucial for their actions through life, there seems to be major societal challenges that make it difficult for the young adults to obtain full inclusion in society. This requires special efforts from the employees’ cooperation with other actors and the outside world in general.
Publication date5 Aug 2015
Number of pages86
External collaboratorKøbenhavns Kommunes 18+ indsats, Center for Forebyggelse og Rådgivning
Leder Jacob Hviid Larsen AH43@sof.kk.dk
ID: 216812345