Unge og det lokale fællesskab

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Jannie Schiødt Thomsen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
This extended dissertation deals with young people and their local community. In 2010, the Danish government implemented a policy to strengthen the local communities in exposed residential areas. To realize this goal, social workers were employed in the local residential areas to, in collaboration with the residents, organize and arrange social initiatives, such as soccer matches, clubs, etc.
These activities are expected to result in a local sense of community among the residents, which will create a positive social capital that will provide greater safety and tolerance in the areas. This will, furthermore, reduce social issues, for example youth crimes, and help the young people become good citizens. The political expectations and the young people’s interests in such communities, however, do not necessarily correspond with each other, which can influence the results of the community and at the same time create new dilemmas.
The dissertation deals with this problem through the research question: What interest do young people have in engaging in their local living areas, and can their involvement meet the political expectations of solving the social problems through local communities? The examination of the research question is based on the local residential area, Blåkildegård in Høje-Taastrup. The dissertation focuses on the young people’s own experience with the community, which gives the examination a qualitative design. Thus, the empirical data consist of nine interviews and four focus group interviews with young people living in Blåkildegård.
To understand the young people’s experiences with the communities, the examination is based on the particular dialectics that exist between empowerment and social control in the communities that the government wishes to build. This is done with Nikolas Rose’s governmentality analytics “advanced liberalism”, which explains modern society’s rationality of controlling the individual through freedom. This form of management is supported by the empowerment strategy, which serves as an essential tool in the work with young people and their local communities. Barbara Cruishank’s understanding of empowerment is used to show that empowerment supports the management form of advanced liberalism with its
intention of empowering the individual through support. Empowerment is, however not necessarily just an extension of advanced liberalism but can also become an obstacle, according to John Andersen’s understanding of empowerment.
The analysis of the research question is presented in two parts: the first part deals with young people’s interests in the community, and the second part deals with the dilemmas that will arise when young people and their communities are controlled through freedom. Twelve dilemmas are presented.
The result of this analysis is that young people, only to a limited extent, take part in the local community to gain better social relations with others. Instead, they participate to interact with people they already know and enjoy the advantages of playgrounds, clubs, and the like. Their involvement in the area can, however, reduce some social problems, but at the same time it draws attention to new and other dilemmas.
Publication date2010
Number of pages113
ID: 42110043