Confronting segregation: Lessons from developmental community youth work practice in conflict societies

Susan Morgan, Alan Grattan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The world is becoming progressively more interdependent and at the same time increasingly economically and socially divided. One consequence of the pervasive nature of global forces and their ‘unequal’ effects is a heightened sense of dissatisfaction and insecurity; the results of which are often generated at the level of the community and individual. The ensuing ‘feeling’ of uncertainty tends to be further intensified in communities either in or emerging from prolonged violent conflict. In nation-states that are deemed not to be in ‘conflict’, internal ‘struggle’ and social division also occur as a consequence of the rapid changes experienced at macro and micro levels. Increasingly countries such as the UK, Germany and France have been experiencing heightened societal and communal segregation resulting in ‘spiralling’ violence against the ‘other’. Consequent actions and/or reactions within both conflict and non-conflict civil societies are, at once, political and communal and between those who wish to embrace, and those who wish to resist, the opportunity for diversity, inclusion and democratization. Often in these situations it is young people who find themselves as the primary ‘victims’ caught in the ‘transitions’ between the past, the present and the possibilities of the future. Within these situations there remains an opportunity to develop a sense of social involvement and empowerment. It is in such contexts where developmental community youth work engages for the ‘hearts and mind’ of young people. Drawing on initiatives and experiences of working with young people in conflict and post conflict environments, this paper examines some of the positive models of practice in relation to community youth development towards promoting social cohesion and integration. As part of on-going empirical research, the paper also explores aspects of such work that may be ‘transferable’ to young people and communal segregation in those so called ‘non-conflict’ societies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Nov 2008


  • community conflict, conflict and non-conflict environments, segregation, community youth development


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