Conversation in Youth Work: A Process for Encounter

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Conversation and dialogue are used as a central process within youth work. Whilst much has been written about the micro-skills of conversation, less attention has been paid to the philosophical realm. This paper examines how dialogue in youth work can be deepened when juxtaposed with the philosophies, principles and theories of conversation. Using qualitative and phenomenological methodologies, this study involved 32 youth workers from across Northern Ireland, in focus groups (N¼8) and interviews (N¼24). The findings illustrate how youth workers perceived dialogue in their practice, pointing to the connections with relationship-building, the development of critical consciousness and the equalizing of power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalChild and Youth Services
Issue number1
Early online date14 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 14 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • conversation
  • critical self-awareness
  • dialogue
  • informal education
  • learning
  • youth work
  • young people


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