This article draws upon recent empirical data from a series of in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with professional youth work practitioners. It is focused upon contemporary practice experiences of social action and youth citizenship projects across North East England. The research provides a more nuanced understanding of the National Citizen Service programmes to make sense of the meaning of citizenship in the twenty-first century. The findings contribute towards a critical appraisal of the National Citizen Service as a vehicle for youth social action in the changing social, economic and political landscapes in a post-Brexit society. It offers some useful insights into approaches to practice interventions, the impact on young people and contests the type of citizen envisaged within the NCS curricula and pedagogy. It adopts a critical perspective to explore recent government rhetoric and seeks to identify the salient assumptions and ways of seeing youth citizenship today. It suggests that we are witnessing the emergence of a form of neocommunitarian citizenship, which can be characterised as a distinct form of ‘active citizenship’ premised on neoliberal economic imperatives, resulting in a reconfiguration of youth work practice and accelerating the demise of young people’s entitlement to universal service provision.
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- Centre for Social Innovation
- SSSHL Department of Humanities and Social Sciences - Senior Lecturer in Youth Work