The Interpretive Paradigm For Personal Development Essay Examples
Theoretical Models of Louise Hurley and David Treacey (1993)
It was in 1992 when the British government started to put a significant increase in the budget allocation for the youth works. This funding covers the provision of support services to swerve from the traditional mainstream forms of youth works to a more sociable and community based special projects targeting the marginalized, oppressed and powerless sectors of the community. However, despite the increase in budget allocation, the number of workers who commits towards the improvisation of youth works was observed to be decreasing. In turn, several studies and social experimentations were made to define, observe and to provide general solutions to problems and issues associated with youth work.
According to the Costello Report (1984), youth work must be successful in bringing empowerment to the youth and shall allow them to come out of the state of dependency. The youth shall know that they have that some control over the situations through influencing the people and the community. It was also mentioned that this sector must also know how to assess what is happening and that they must know how to identify alternatives to be able to survive a particular situation.
Though youth work is considered to be an education in an informal context, it is still important as it provides a more accessible and relatable bridges between the adults and the youths. It might be in an out-of-school learning environment but youth work was able to provide learnings in many ways such as social interactions, programs and other social opportunities to show their worth.
Hurley and Treacey’s Models of Youth Work (1993)
There are four main models of youth work that Louise Hurley and David Treacey mentioned in their Socialized Framework published in 1993. The four models are (1) the Functionalist Paradigm for Character Building, (2) the Interpretive Paradigm for Personal Development, (3) the Radical Humanist Paradigm for Critical Social Paradigm, and (4) the Radical Socialist Paradigm for Radical Social Change.
These four models of Louise Hurley and David Treacey are based on the sociology of educational thought and on Burrell and Morgan’s framework (1979) in which they based functionalism and interpretive paradigm on functionalism and radical humanism while humanism and radical social change are under conflict theories. The four paradigms defined the four views of social world in accordance to the different multi-theoretical assumptions with regards to the natures of science and society.
Two of the four models of youth work of Hurley and Treacey will be defined, contrasted and compared. These two models are the Interpretive Paradigm for Personal Development and the Radical Structuralist Paradigm for Radical Social Change.
The interpretive paradigm seeks to understand the world as it is as well as to understand the environment through subjective experiences. In aims to have explanations from individual’s consciousness within a particular frame of reference according to Burrell and Morgan (1979).
Interpretive paradigm therefore, is subjectively based on the viewpoints and perspectives of the youth and that is the reason behind its purpose of personal development. However, being experienced means that an individual must involve him or herself to the issues related to the status quo, social orders, consensus and social integration and cohesion, solidarity and actuality in the society to be able to understand and feel what it is to be part of the abovementioned things.
The interpretive paradigm started as an out of response to the approaches of functionalism and structuralism. These two approaches neglected and disregarded the role and existence of human creativity as well as freedom of well-being. These also have snubbed the richness and the complexity of the lives of the humanity.
Some of the other assumptions on the interpretive paradigm according to Ryan (1991) are (1) daily activities of the youth particularly are the building blocks of the society, (2) understanding the behavior of all the other actors in the society is essential to be able to grasp the meanings that the society tries to imply, (3) interaction is a must and isolation must be rarely recognized, (4) social reality comes with a network of assumptions and intersubjective shared meanings, (5) interpretive sociology is understanding the real world.
The application to youth work of interpretive paradigm lies on personal development. It is necessary to empower oneself first before trying to empower the rest of the society because it builds up confidence and credibility. Also, knowing the world as it is and having subjective experiences to those happening in the society provides a clearer and smoother transition from youth to the phase of adulthood. Interpretive paradigm is essential in youth work as it makes a youth able to understand the world through explaining things from his or her perspectives and these perspectives were carefully governed by real life experiences. Therefore, it suffices one of the goals of youth work which is to negate the state of dependency making the youth independent and responsible for his or her own self.
Hurley and Treacey (1993) identified the key characteristic of their Personal Development Model and it includes (1) the analysis of youth problems, (2) the programme emphasis, (3) the process and relationships, (4) the role of the youth worker, (5) the structures for participation and lastly, (6) the outcomes. The first characteristic must be observed because majority recognize that since youth are passing through a transitory period, they encounter a lot of problems and difficulties in adapting. In that way, the second characteristic must be done as it contains programs and other activities to help the youth feel that they are not alone in conquering their personal issues. Building relationships is also considered as a key characteristic because sociologists recognize that people do learn from the people they interacted to. Thus, the authors identified that the role of the youth worker in this model is to act as a confidante, supporter, motivator and counsellor to keep the youth in track. Trust, on the other hand, is the ultimate structure for participation and being open to other people would make you and the other learn from other’s experiences. Lastly, the outcomes must be advantageous to both the individual and the actor in a particular society, and to the society as a whole.
The Radical Structuralist Paradigm for Radical Social Change
The theory on functionalism that is used in the Interpretive Paradigm and the theory on the Radical Structuralist Paradigm share a common approach that is to the study of social reality. One of the basic premises that the two theories share is the belief that reality are governed, usually, by the societal laws. On the other hand, the main difference between the two is how the radical structuralist put emphasis on the contradiction and crisis. If Interpretative Paradigm wants subjective knowledge, the Radical Structuralist Paradigm is more on objectively gained standpoints.
Some of the assumptions under this paradigm in accordance to what Ryan (1991) wrote are (1) societal reality does not depend on the reaffirmation that happens in the everyday lives of the youth, (2) the existence of contradiction and conflict in societies is normal because of the competition for both power and resources, (3) contradictions result crisis and crisis will demand a radical change, (4) education plays a huge role in shaping the society and in achieving radical and relevant social change, (5) inequality exists because of the dominant ruling groups which have the control over everything.
The application of the Radical Structuralist Paradigm for Radical Social Change in the youth work is in the means of having collective consciousness within their own daily practices. Having a deeper analysis on what causes the different changes occurring in the society must be the top priority of the members of the youth population to achieve and promote radical social change.
Hurley and Treacey (1993) identified the key characteristic of their Radical Social Change Model and it goes the same way with the Interpretive Model. Basically, it includes (1) the analysis of youth problems, (2) the programme emphasis, (3) the process and relationships, (4) the role of the youth worker, (5) the structures for participation and lastly, (6) the outcomes. The analysis of youth problems is necessary because it is assumed that the youth is the most exploited sector in the society. The programmes include the social manifesto and other related activities which aim to promote social and political awareness. The process is through recruitment which means that the members of the youth sector must know how they could possibly influence other people. The role of the youth worker in this model is to act as giver of social role. Lastly, the outcomes are expected to develop the skills of the youth towards political activism and that the institutions will be replaced with more responsible and credible ones.
Summary and Conclusion
The Personal Development Model and the Radical Social Change Model of Louise Hurley and David Treacey are almost similar but different models. The main differences that can be observed from the two are the paradigms, theories and political ideology that are used to define them. Personal Development Model is governed by the Interpretive Paradigm while the Radical Social Change Model is based on the Radical Stucturalist Paradigm. The first model used functionalism and the latter used structuralism. Lastly, the Personal Development Model is more inclined to the ideology of liberalism while the Radical Social Change Model is of the mixed ideologies of socialism and capitalism. In addition to the abovementioned differences, the way of obtaining knowledge of the two models are also different in a way that the first gathers information subjectively and the other one prefers to gain knowledge objectively. Lastly and the most obvious, the two models differ in their applications to the youth work.
On the other hand the similarities of the two models can be summarized into three: (1) the framework where it is based from, (2) the touch of the theory of functionalism and (3) the strong involvement of the individual or the actors in the society and the society in general. First of all is of course, all the models done by Louise Hurley and David Treacey are all based on the framework made by Burrell and Morgan in 1979. The second similarity is observed because the literature says that both have the touch of the theory of functionalism but, the second model has been dominated by the theory on structuralism. The third similarity was also noticed since both models showed that the individuals and the society as a whole are essential factors in achieving development.
In terms of the two models’ application to youth work, it is recognizable that the two cannot be compared because they target two different subcategories. The Personal Development Model targets the personal development or the understanding of oneself and the real world while the Radical Social Change Model targets the social laws to be able to achieve development. Therefore, the two models can be considered as mutually exclusive models just like what their applications imply. The judgment, therefore, is dependent on the perspective of the one who will be doing or committing to a youth work.
However, it does not mean that if I will use the interpretive paradigm for personal development model, I will tolerate the state of liberalism. Liberalism is a political ideology which is allergic to change thus loves and sticks to what is the status quo. In the youth work that I will be doing some time in the future, I would not want it to be allergic to change and I would want it to embrace changes and progress that the society and the individuals has to offer. In the end, though I stand firm that development must first come from the inside because it could be shared to other people, I am also holding the principle that there is nothing permanent in this world but change. People should not be afraid of change and progress and we should also not settle for what is in the status quo. In that way, youth work could be a whole lot powerful that what it is today.
Burrell, G. and Morgan, G., (1979), Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, London Heinemann.
Costello Report, (1984), The National Youth Policy Committee Final Report, Dublin Government Publications.
Hurley, L. and Treacy, D., (1993), A Sociological Framework, Irish Youthwork Press
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