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Community building through intergenerational exchange programs: Report to the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme (NYARS)

MacCallum, J., Palmer, D., Wright, P. R., Cumming-Potvin, W., Northcote, J.K., Brooker, M.A. and Tero, C. (2006) Community building through intergenerational exchange programs: Report to the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme (NYARS). Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs

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Abstract

Initiatives designed to support young people’s engagement, participation and civic involvement with community have grown in popularity in Australia over the past decade. This is coincident with an increased emphasis on communitarian aspirations such as building community, promoting civics and encouraging social capital (Bessant, 1997; Botsman & Latham, 2001; Brennan, 1998; Harris, 1999). In this new policy environment, young people’s social problems, issues and needs are largely seen as a reflection of their declining levels of inclusion in civic life, a loss in community, a failure on the part of local associations to encourage social cohesion at the local level and a growing distance between the generations. According to those advancing this style of social policy, something has gone awfully wrong with the social fabric, community participation is dropping and different generations are becoming cut off from each other. The answer is often seen to be in interventions that develop social capital, build community capacity, encourage partnerships, support community enterprise, and strengthen democratic and civic participation. Precisely what this means, or how it might be achieved in youth practice settings, is not clear.

Intergenerational practice has emerged as one general approach that may help put substance to aspirations for bringing young people into closer contact with others in their community. Although as yet not a significant part of the Australian policy landscape, the field of intergenerational practice has gained considerable support in the United States and is growing rapidly in Europe.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Publisher: Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs
URI: http://murdoch33.eprints-hosting.org/id/eprint/2914
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