Conceptualising ‘youth’ through the lived experiences of case managers

Mr Joel Robert Mcgregor1
1University Of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia

This paper looks at the way that some case managers lived experience is brought to bear on definitions of ‘youth’. Those who work directly with young people have significant power to impact their decisions and, ultimately, shape their desistance pathway. Across literature on welfare it has been widely acknowledged that practitioners often have personal motivations for working with select groups. In this paper, I will examine the role of lived experience in the ways that youth are portrayed and represented as objects of intervention. Utilising analysis of qualitative data collected from a research project that examines case management practices, this article examines the personal motivations for case managers working with young people on desistance interventions, arguing (1) the case managers’ personal motivations should be at the forefront of understanding how they conceptualise their role and how this influences their day-to-day work practices, and (2) the case managers’ personal history foreshadows the construction of ‘the client’. This paper argues that the young person became a ‘client’ not only through institutional definitions or risk-based knowledges but through broader relations of moral authority that constituted governance.


Joel Robert McGregor is an associate lecturer and PhD candidate in the School of Humanities and Social Science at University of Newcastle, Australia. His research interests lie at the intersection of sociology and criminology with a focus on desistance and young people. He is currently finishing his PhD which investigates the day-to-day practices of case managers working with at-risk youth.



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