Conference paper

Dealing with disadvantage: community, place and resilience in girls' identity work

Resilience (Personality) Child poverty Poverty Girls Youth Group identity Australia Sydney

This paper from the 2007 Australian Social Policy Conference explores young people's understandings of the social problems and strengths of their community. The paper discusses girls' (13 to 24 year-olds) accounts of their experiences of growing up in the Glebe public housing estate: the difficulties they face, their critiques and aspirations indicate resilience, their positive adaptation despite adversity. Social capital accrued through the resources and support of local networks may be seen as significant to their resilience. However, the girls' accounts also explicate youth resistances to school and inevitable trouble through participation in the local youth network, raising questions for conceptualisations of both social capital and resilience. Moreover, their articulation of living in a 'stereotyped' community indicates the significance of social identity and how it is understood and constructed in reference to both place and the inequitable relations of identifiable groups. The relations of differentiated social capitals and the relative strength of specific resources which constitute them are challenges for community development. Dynamic rather than normative definitions may be necessary for the recognition of resilience in young people and communities dealing with disadvantage.

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