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Looking Out for the Lads

Community Action and the Provision of Youth Services in an Urban Irish Parish

By Stephen A. Gaetz
Categories: Anthropology/ethnography, Gender, North Atlantic European Studies, Policy And Politics
Series: Social and Economic Studies
Series Number: 57
Paperback : 9780919666900, 256 pages, January 1997


An examination of the efforts of residents of an urban parish in Cork, Ireland, to deal with various self-identified youth problems, such as unemployment, crime and substance abuse. Looking Out for the Lads is an ethnographic investigation of community development as a strategy for social change--both the potential and limitations of the community action process. There is an effort to link micro- and macro-levels of theoretical analysis; to explore how the actions of local political actors must be interpreted in the light of the omnipresent influence of hegemonic forces that operate to assist, or conversely, contain, control, and obstruct the community development process. In this case study, while the dominant institutions of youth provision (the Catholic Church, the government, and large voluntary organizations) overtly supported the notion of community-based youth services through rhetoric, symbolic imagery, and capital projects, their actions in fact undermined public faith in local level institutions struggling to develop responsive youth services.


"Very useful for students on courses in the applied social sciences and practitioners in the helping professions. "

- Lena Dominelli, Sociology