Complementary approaches in youth work to counter polarization
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This thesis aims to constitute a framework for youth work activities to counter problematic polarization among young people more effectively. For this, several professionals in the fields of youth work and/or polarization were interviewed. Firstly, two dimensions of polarization are distinguished; ‘vertical’ frustrations towards society and institutions, and ‘horizontal’ segregation and distrust towards other groups. The different causes leading to these dimensions could be mitigated in various ways. The pedagogical Positive Youth Development approach could address personal frustrations by fostering self-efficacy, and the social-psychological intergroup contact theory ought to improve relations between different groups by letting them have positive interactions. This thesis integrates the most important aspects of both these approaches into a combined framework which could tackle both dimensions of polarization simultaneously. After all, respondents argued that these dimensions are interrelated and should both be addressed, because vertical discontent might manifest itself towards other groups. Activities within this framework consist of heterogenous groups working together to develop their competencies and talents.