Social Action by Youth: Creating a Sense of Community

Morsillo, Julie Elizabeth (2006) Social Action by Youth: Creating a Sense of Community. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The Social Action by Youth (SAY) project provided participants with an opportunity to explore their hopes, celebrate their social identity and address their community concerns by creating participant designed and participant-led community-building and social action projects. The researcher worked in partnership with a community agency in a socially disadvantaged area of Melbourne. An appreciative inquiry approach to action research was taken with three local youth groups who became active co-operative inquirers. The first group of 16 year old school students designed and successfully undertook community-building projects in community arts, including: a drug-free underage dance party, a community theatre group, a student battle of the bands, children's activities in a cultural festival for refugees and designing an Aboriginal public garden. The group of same-sex attracted youth in a social setting chose to address heterosexism in the local community by the workshops and performances of their own drama scenarios at a teachers' forum on same-sex attracted friendly environments in schools. The third group, recently arrived refugee youth from the Horn of Africa in an educational bridging program, organised a celebratory day on their recent educational achievements with food, music and dancing. Participants reported alienation from their local neighbourhoods at the beginning of the research. However, through the process of appreciating their identity and successfully creating community projects, the participants in each group reported feelings of positive identity affirmation and being able to make a difference in their communities. Participants began a social transformation process of developing new positive narratives for an improved sense of community connectedness.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > RFCD Classification > 370000 Studies in Human Society
Keywords Social action; Youth in development; Social work with youth; Community development; Action research; Melbourne
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