“Human dignity and social cohesion: youth policy responses to violence”
Urban and school violence
This is an outline of my presentation on urban and school violence, which will be accompanied by specific examples and practical results. The contribution will set out some objective indicators on the project which has been in place in the Quartier des Poètes, Pierrefitte, for nine years now, and on the Education for Citizenship project, which has involved a total of 3 000 children over the last three years.
The problem of violence and real or perceived insecurity is a major challenge to modern societies.
Before we can start solving this problem we must decide on the relative importance of the requisite action by the public authorities and the citizens, including the young people themselves.
Experience shows that face-to-face encounters between adults and young people are not the most effective way forward. Education for non-violence and transmission of values are possible where the young people are actively involved and considered as full partners.
The prerequisites for effective action against violence and also against such phenomena as introversion, fear, rejection and other risks, include public authority efficiency, active involvement by the community at large and youth participation. This is why combating violence involves renewing policies geared to producing a sense of living together.
It is a case of (re-)establishing community relations and social cohesion. Violence is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon which necessitates action right across the board, covering all sectoral policies (access to rights, housing, culture, etc). Multi-sectoral approaches emphasis the reinforcement of educational supervision and institutional socialisation (school, vocational qualifications, mutual aid, etc). Under this approach young people are considered not as a problem but as individuals who have problems and rights. This is why our perception of young people and the activities designed for them must concentrate primarily on rights and responsibilities.
This is no passive approach that condones youth violence. It is an active, associative approach which places young people’s rights and responsibilities at the very heart of the action. This approach can ensure that violence becomes a matter for everyone. The problem of violence can be settled through citizenship.
In conclusion I shall be putting forward a number of proposals and suggesting a number of further lines of inquiry.