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Nothing to lose?
A Constructed Grounded Theory of loss in the lives of young people who offend.

MEABY, VICTORIA (2019) Nothing to lose?
A Constructed Grounded Theory of loss in the lives of young people who offend.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales (CC BY).



Links between young people's exposure to adversity and their offending behaviour have been widely researched within academia, but investigation into loss in the lives of young people who offend is extremely limited, particularly within community youth justice. Little is known about the impact of loss upon offending behaviours, or how young people feel or respond to loss. Using O’Neill’s (2002) ethno-mimesis (a fusion of art, storytelling and ethnography) and Charmaz's (2000) Constructivist Grounded Theory, my research begins to address these gaps in knowledge. I undertook fieldwork across two distinct areas of North East England, working with young people and practitioners at Youth Offending Teams, community arts venues and a Local Authority Study Programme. Findings revealed the pervasive, often disenfranchised nature of loss in young people's lives, with loss of childhood, loss of opportunity and loss of agency of particular concern. In these situations offending became a viable way to make meaning from loss. This was particularly apparent in the absence of a caring and trusted pro-social adult, and/ or where young people had communication or emotional literacy difficulties. Offending also enabled marginalised young people opportunity to form connections and construct meaningful identities during, and in the aftermath, of loss.

This research is unique. It discusses where connections with existing research, policy and practice might be made in relation to how loss is conceptualised and responded to within youth justice; offers fresh theoretical insight from a British perspective into marginalised young people's experiences of loss; shares how ethno-mimetic engagement has potential to enable fresh perspectives and encourage new ways of thinking about loss and emphasises the importance of understanding young lives from an intersectional perspective. Continuing to increase our understanding of loss in the lives of young people who offend is vital; for young people themselves, and for those who support them.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Youth Justice, loss, Constructivist Grounded Theory, Ethno-mimesis, young people, creative methodologies.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Feb 2019 16:31

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