Sunsent over lake in Illawarra

Research consultancy to improve civic participation

On Sociology at Work, a not-for-profit that I run, Scott Burrows wrote about his work documenting and addressing youth unemployment. Scott is a sociologist and research consultant for private industry, working in picturesque Illawara, in regional New South Wales, Australia.

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Three young men and two young women talk and laugh as they walk the street

Including youth in community consulting

Societies make many negative assumptions about the types of young people who are forced into criminal activity, and why this might occur. Yet, as Sociology professor Randy Blazak points out, youth voices are often missing from these discussions. Professor Blazak talks about the problem of labelling at-risk youth “gang members.” He notes that not listening to these youth’s experiences can become a “self-fulling prophecy.” He explains: “People don’t get better when you focus on the bad stuff.” In sociology, we know this as labelling theory.

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