A study of how local communities responded to changes in local authority youth services between 2010-2015: A Foucauldian and Baumanian perspective

Bullock, Steve ORCID: 0000-0001-9121-5901 (2019) A study of how local communities responded to changes in local authority youth services between 2010-2015: A Foucauldian and Baumanian perspective. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/YHWS7412

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Following economic crisis in 2008, a new Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government came into power in 2010 and introduced various measures and policies which prioritised reducing the national debt. Such measures and policies impacted county council funding which in turn meant that the county of Treescape decided to focus its services on the most vulnerable. This resulted in the local authority youth service being disbanded, with all open access youth work, as well as the majority of infrastructure support and associated services stopping and buildings closing. A new targeted youth support service was thus created. If local communities in Treescape county wanted open access youth work, it was their responsibility to provide it. This thesis undertakes a comparative study exploring the response of individuals and local parish/town councils from four communities, who proactively secured forms of youth provision in their area. Through the conceptual lenses provided by Michel Foucault and Zygmunt Bauman, the findings reveal that individuals and local parish/town councils responded to the challenges by exercising forms of neoliberal governmentality and discipline in order to achieve local solutions. In so doing they have created a unique mix of neoliberal and business-based approaches with local values that privilege the importance of relationships. I call this the ‘loconomy’. Given the precariousness and insecurity felt by individuals and youth providers, I discovered the presence of a ‘situational dynamic’ where youth providers needed to consider how much to invest in a local community in order to strengthen their case to be a parish/town councils’ preferred provider, which meant keeping both the young people and funder contented. However, this was not easy as youth work had become financialised, with finance limiting what could be offered at a local level compared with what was previously available via the local authority youth service. This resulted in varied forms of youth work, all of which had experienced shrinkflation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Bryan, Hazelhbryan@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Vare, Paulpvare@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/paul-vare/
Uncontrolled Keywords: Youth Services; Local authority funding; Austerity; Neoliberal and business-based approaches; England
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Health and Social Care
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2021 12:36
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2023 14:27
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/9292

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