Assembling, disassembling and reassembling ‘youth services’ in Austerity Britain

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This paper moves from a reading of processes that are transforming public services in ways that amount to a dismantling of the welfare state in the UK. In order to interrogate these processes, the paper focuses on ‘youth’ and ‘youth services’. Framed by an analysis of the aggressive disinvestment of ‘austerity’, we take up Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the assemblage as a tool to map and understand the apparently disparate factors or components that come together to produce a ‘youth service assemblage’ and its disassembly and reassembly. As we do this we demonstrate the usefulness of assemblage as way of encountering the productivity of relations across components and avoiding an account that over-states the force or scope of ‘policy’. The paper concludes that by analysing in terms of assemblage, new challenges for thinking about politics emerge, in particular the limits of thinking in terms of a resistant political subject and the need to engage ambiguity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-130
Number of pages15
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Issue number1
Early online date13 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • youth/adolescence
  • poststructural/postmodern/critical theory
  • neoconservatism/neoliberalism
  • educational policy
  • Deleuze


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