The making of an Outsider: Growing up in poverty in Northern Ireland

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The young people who are the focus of this article grow up in communities ravaged by poverty and conflict. School is where they spend most of their time, but their experience of school is, generally, not motivating and increases their feelings of social exclusion; almost one in ten young people whose family depends on benefits leaves school with no educational qualifications and the future they see is bleak. Small wonder, then, that so many suffer from emotional and mental health problems and engage in self-harming behavior. This article will use qualitative data from two studies carried out over the past 5 years to explore the experiences of young people growing up in poverty in Northern Ireland and look at the extent of their exclusion from the norms of society. It will argue that this exclusion is such that some of them feel “outsiders” even within their own, disadvantaged, community, and this is dangerous in a society which is still emerging from conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-467
JournalYouth & Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jun 2011


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