Youth and politics generally seem to have a particularly problematic relationship. When politicians talk about young people, it is often because they are seen as the cause or victims of social problems. Examples are the curfew riots and partying young people in Amsterdam's Vondelpark in 2021, but also the reports about the waiting lists in youth care and the increased mental problems among young people. Young people themselves often seem apolitical and unconcerned with matters that transcend their individual interests. Such impressions mainly based on the portrayal of adults, who associate political content mainly with rational conversations. If we look and listen more carefully, we notice that young people do have political interests, they have all kinds of thoughts about social issues, and express themselves about the quality of social and public life. Only, they do not always do this in ways that adults understand or find appropriate. Young people often find politically meaningful routes, channels and opportunities through the cultural expressions of music, theatre, dance and poetry. The ways in which they express themselves are often direct, emotional or “unrefined,” wielding blunt instruments. As a result, adults disengage or judge young people. Youth workers are generally more open to the political-social input of young people. In youth work, young people find opportunities to express themselves on their own terms and in their own ways. Youth work is thus a crowbar creating space for the voice of young people. In this chapter we explore how youth workers help to sharpen the “blunt instruments” of young people without altering or compromising their contributions.
|Translated title of the contribution||Crowbars and crude instruments: Cultural expression in youth work programs, on their terms|
|Title of host publication||Sociaal weerwerk|
|Subtitle of host publication||Maatschappelijke betrokkenheid in zorg en welzijn|
|Place of Publication||Amsterdam|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|