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Grassroots Youth WorkPolicy, Passion and Resistance in Practice$
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Tania De St Croix

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447328599

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447328599.001.0001

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Target cultures and performativity

Target cultures and performativity

Chapter:
(p.81) Four Target cultures and performativity
Source:
Grassroots Youth Work
Author(s):

Tania De St Croix

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447328599.003.0004

Despite policy rhetoric about the need to strip away target cultures, most grassroots youth workers in England (as elsewhere) experience extensive monitoring and performance management systems. This study finds that youth workers experience target and audit cultures as obstructive, distracting and even demeaning of good youth work. This chapter draws on theories of performativity as they are differently formulated by Stephen Ball (2003; 2013) and Judith Butler (1990; 2004) to consider how target cultures change not only what youth workers do but also who they are. The roles of authenticity and shame are discussed in relation to performativity, followed by a discussion of challenges to inappropriate systems of audit and measurement – in the form of counter-discourses, rule-breaking, collective campaigns and alternative approaches to accountability such as story-telling.

Keywords:   youth workers, monitoring, performativity, target cultures, counter-discourses, accountability, story-telling

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