Societal access routes, developmental pathways and prevention policies: Putting structure, politics and culture into the analysis of pathways into and out 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 UK 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 programmes but a supportive relationship with a non-judgemental 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.
Pathways and Crime Prevention: Theory, Policy and Practice
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