A Good Place for What? Placing ‘Value’ in Youth Centres
Sharpe, Erin K
van Ingen, Cathy
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In this paper, we investigate the discursive context of community-based youth centres to critically interrogate ideas and practices concerning leisure, youth, and youth centres. Using publicly available documents and data collected with youth at two community-based youth centres, we ask, what is the “good”’ that they do for young people, and how do young people negotiate these discourses? We argue that the youth centres operate in a discursive tension, constructed as a place to change by the (organizational) bodies that established them, and a place to chill by the (youth) bodies that used them. We trace how these discourses entered into the everyday lived contexts of youth centres including their program logics, measures of success, and constructions of youthful subjectivities. We close with a discussion of the implications of the research in terms of how youth and recreation practitioners might use youth centres to support young people’s leisure.