Affiliation, identity and competence: a route towards the inclusion of at risk youth

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This paper results from an exploratory study on factors promoting trajectories of inclusion for young people with at risk backgrounds. This study aims at understanding the capitals provided by social interventions over the trajectories of young people, in order to constitute a ground of analysis on the diversity of professional and institutional practices regarding these subjects. It intends to contribute to the contextualisation of social interventions with at risk youth, at both micro and macro level of social responses to this group of people. The methodological strategy that was adopted lies within the scope of qualitative research and is developed through a case study on the Youth Club (Clube de Jovens), an intervention project targeting at risk youth situations in Lisbon, which is being carried out since 2002. The empirical investigation has been undertaken through a systematic gathering of data on the participants in the project, using focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and personal observations of the researcher. The following factors have been identified as playing a central role in the process of inclusion: the importance of the group in the process of belonging and personal identity; the role of professionals in providing a relational capacity and the aggregating elements for the necessary stability in the evolution of the processes of positive identification; the impact of the group and of the intervention in young people in terms of their identities and in the construction of their life projects. The results point towards three core components of the intervention process: the process of affiliation, the identity constructed between the I and the other, and the development of personal and social competences as key-elements of integration, which attests that “sometimes small events are enough to provide new life trajectories” (Machado, 2005, p.13).
Translated title of the contributionAfiliação, identidade e competência: uma via de inclusão para jovens em risco
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYouth, offense and well-being
Subtitle of host publicationCan science enlighten policy?
EditorsRoberto Carneiro
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherUniversidade Católica Portuguesa
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9789729045363
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Protection factors
  • Intervention process
  • Social inclusion


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