Thomas, Paul (2006) The impact of community cohesion on youth work: A case study from Oldham. Youth and Policy (93). pp. 41-60. ISSN 0262-9798

Initiated by the 2001 disturbances in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford, 'community
cohesion' offers a critique of the apparently negative race relations in many of Britain's
towns and cities. Whilst highly contested, this concept has become a policy reality So
what does it mean for Youth Work? Drawing on empirical evidence from Oldham, this
paper examines the impact of community cohesion on Youth Work policy and practice.
It argues that, contrary to the largely hostile academic critique, community cohesion has
been positively understood and supported by youth workers. Furthermore, community
cohesion has enabled a 'modal shift' in youth work towards forms of practice rooted
in the history and traditions of youth work, and has aI/owed youth work agencies to
take pivotal roles in policy responses to ethnic segregation and tension. Inherent in
this modal shift of practice is a critique of 'anti-racism', as it has been understood and
practised by many welfare professionals.


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