A discourse is a communication process which has the power to define a certain subject matter or topic and consequently directs the perception of people regarding that same subject matter or topic. It is a systematic and communicative method of forming knowledge and forwarding this knowledge as legitimate and true. Knowledge as connected to truth connotes the ascription of meanings to a given subject, which is then solidified and turned to be accepted meanings. On a further note, these meanings penetrate and influence the manner by which the world is interpreted, perceived and understood by individuals and the society in general.
These perceptions and interpretations of the world by the society are ultimately manifested in their actions. What is demonstrated by this idea is the fact that a discourse does not only possess the influential capacity to move the society towards a paradigm shift of consciousness. More importantly, it moves the society towards an actualization of a set or a system of actions based upon that newly formed and imbibed consciousness.
It provides a framework which is used by people to interpret their social environment and guide their action. Discourse is clearly then not just a linguistic concept, it is also about practice/action. Discourse defines a subject, it creates objects of our knowledge and can therefore influence how we react and act' (Dunbabin, 2011: 10). Furthermore, this is to say that a discourse maneuver flows deeper into the relational, institutional and structural arrangement of the society such that it predetermines not only the actions, reactions and responses of individuals but also other discourses that are engendered by it.
[...] If they are constantly portrayed in any social or public discourse as the problem, youth will always perceive themselves as the society's nemesis. Hence, any policy intervention is always interpreted as an attempt to subdue or overcome them. Their conclusion is one of pessimism so that they view policy intervention that targets youth-generated problems as created neither to help them nor to serve their best interest. Since the success and effectiveness of government policies and initiatives depends on youth involvement, the key therefore is to make them feel that they are part of the solution and not more of the problem. [...]
[...] The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Third edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [...]
[...] [Accessed: 23/12/2012] Dunbabin, H. (2011). ‘Child Criminals' in the Media: An Analysis of Media Constructions of ‘Child Criminals' and a Critical Analysis of the Consequences. [Online]. Available from: www.internetjournalofcriminology.com. [Accessed: 23/12/2012] Marks, M. (1992). Youth and Political Violence: The Problem of Anomie and the Role of Youth Organisations. Available: http://www.csvr.org.za/wits/papers/papanomi.htm. [Accessed 28/12/2012] Matthews, R. (2009).Doing Time. [...]
[...] However, inasmuch as these initiatives and policies address the social problems created by young people, and in a way, contribute to their general welfare, they are deemed to be insufficient. Upon a closer look, these initiatives and policies may have only offered a short-term solution and its effect are not carried over time. Moreover, other policies may not have been as effective as they are planned to be. This may be due to the reason that young people who are the major subject of such policies could not, in actuality, see that their real concerns are tackled by these same policies. [...]
[...] As such, the society responded by attributing to the young people notions such as irresponsibility and dangerousness. At the same time, this crisis raises an alarming question as to how youth will function effectively within the society. Implicit in this question is the idea that the role and rightful place of young people within the society is likewise rendered problematic. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that young people no longer offer resistance and seemingly accept these representations as a matter of truth. [...]
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