Giving respect: the ‘new’ responsibilities of youth in the transition towards citizenship

Alan France and Jo Meredith

in Securing respect

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420947
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303336 | DOI:
Giving respect: the ‘new’ responsibilities of youth in the transition towards citizenship

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There has been a growing political anxiety that respect among the young is becoming a major problem. Although youthful immorality and poor behaviour has been a major component of the ‘youth question’ for quite a time, there is a perception that is has increased in recent years. Equally, there is also a growing concern about crisis in childhood. It is argued that the morality and respect of children for the world they live in is being undermined by the type and pace of social change. This perspective suggests that immorality and lack of respect among children is a signifier of the decline of modern civilised society. Such calls led to continual calls for the government to intervene and find ways to instil the core values of the past. This chapter explores how the approach of the government to reinstate and reaffirm respect has infiltrated government thinking and shaped policy towards the young. This approach of the government is argued to be narrow and unproductive in helping to create a ‘culture of respect’ among the young. In this chapter it is argued that if respect is to be used as a means of mobilizing the youth, then is has to have broader definition and has to render recognition to notions of ‘mutual’ respect and ‘self-respect’. These, as the chapter discovers, are absent from recent youth policy debates. If these are not addressed, the concept of respect as a solution to the youth problem will not bring about significant changes and will only cultivate cynicism and lack of respect from the young towards those who claim to be helping them become future responsible citizens.

Keywords: respect; youthful immorality; poor behaviour; crisis in childhood; immorality; lack of respect; children; culture of respect; mutual respect; self-respect

Chapter.  8443 words. 

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