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Youth Justice in context: Fields of Fluid Rationalities
This presentation draws on research conducted with youth justice practitioners in three jurisdictions (Republic of Ireland, England and Northern Ireland) in a comparative study of youth justice cultures. The discourses that bring the subjects of 'youth justice' into view and the rationalities that are deployed to govern comprise various amalgams that change shape over time and place. The diverse rationalities that are operationalised by practitioners are shaped by the youth justice 'field' at both the macro and more localised levels. Macro shapers include socio-cultural, political and historical factors and varying legislative and policy frameworks. Localised factors include the organisational structures and community contexts in which youth justice is situated. It is argued that practitioners are active agents in this sphere but the extent to which this is the case is influenced by the composition and characteristics of the field.