Youth - Young people building Europe


The History of Youth Work in Europe

The history of youth work in Europe - Relevance for today's youth work policy (2009)
Edited by Griet Verschelden, Filip Coussée, Tineke Van de Walle and Howard Williamson
ISBN 978-92-871-6608-1

order The History of Youth Work in Europe


Youth work is a polyvalent and multi-faceted practice. It takes place in a wide range of settings, varies from unstructured activities to fairly structured programmes, reaches a diverse array of young people, touches upon many different themes and cuts across several other disciplines and practices. This versatility is one of the strengths of youth work, but at the same time it may lead to fragmentation and product vagueness.

In this book, we take a historical perspective that aims to identify the close links between youth work developments and broader social, cultural and political developments. What are the beliefs and concepts that underpin youth work? How do they relate to the recurrent youth work paradox, that youth work produces active and democratic citizens but at the same time seems ineffective for young people who are excluded from active citizenship? Tracing back the roots of youth work and identifying different evolutions within and between countries help to initiate a fundamental discussion on modern-day youth work identity and to cope in a constructive way with the recurrent paradoxes of youth work.

The different authors highlight the youth work policies in Belgium (Flanders), Germany, England, Poland, Malta, France and Finland.


The interesting histories of European youth work and policy
The relevance of youth work's history
Youth work and policy at European level
The function of history in the debate on social work
The Catholic Flemish Student Movement, 1875-1935
Youth work and its forgotten history: a view from Flanders
Defined by history: youth work in the UK
Youth work development in Malta: a chronicle
The German perspective: youth work, integration and policy
Poland: the ideological background to youth work
The Finnish perspective: youth work, policy and research
Youth work and policy in France
The history of European youth work and its relevance for youth policy today

Appendix - Youth movements in Flanders: a short history

List of contributor