A Social Justice Perspective on Youth and Community Development Theorizing the Processes and Outcomes of Participation

This article draws upon a study of 88 justice-oriented, community-based United States youth programs to explore how youth development philosophies shape the processes and outcomes of participation. The programs in the study population score high on a six-item scale measuring youth development philosophies, from more conventional to more transformative in nature. Empirical findings from a survey of program directors reveal three processes of youth participation that fall along a continuum from personal to social change: social integration, at one end, civic activism, at the other, and community improvement positioned anywhere along the continuum. The specific participatory processes used by programs tend to both reflect their youth development philosophies and shape the outcomes they produce. Findings also reveal a disconnection between the more conventional youth development philosophies that dominate the field and participatory processes that engage youth as agents of change in tackling the inequitable conditions in their lives and communities.

URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.17.2.0616.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A3ccd0aced53977f66f37b70fed97dbb4