Societal access routes and developmental pathways: Putting social structure and young people's voice into the analysis of pathways into and out of crime
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Central to pathways research is the analysis of the social processes involved in human action and the influences that have shaping qualities. At the heart of these social processes are human beings who exercise agency and help construct themselves and their environments. Shaping influences include changing social structures; political ideologies and policy innovations; and changes taking place in the cultural sphere of social life. In studying the actions of individuals within changing social environments it is important to make a distinction between individual developmental pathways and societal access routes. Access routes appear in different forms to different people in terms of accessibility and attractiveness. Understanding this perceptual dimension requires listening to the voices of children and young people.This is illustrated by reference to the work of the United Kingdom (UK) Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) research network, Pathways Into and Out of Crime, which shows how culture, structure and policy influence young people's everyday lives and decisions. It also shows that what young people really value is not programs but a supportive relationship with a nonjudgmental adult who is able to help them negotiate their way through difficult circumstances. The focus of prevention efforts should be on changing social arrangements to create opportunities and systems that facilitate the formation of such supportive structures.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
© 2006 Australian Academic Press. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher, for your personal use only. No further distribution permitted. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.