Youth work in a changing society: A case study of Hong Kong youth service providers

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Hong Kong has recently witnessed heightened public awareness of the issues of rights, civil society and citizenship. Contested relations with the Beijing government and slower economic growth in mainland China have seen more Hong Kong citizens become involved in civic engagement and identity politics. Youth service providers thus find themselves forced to respond to a rapidly changing society and changing youth needs while being situated in institutions with their own structural constraints and work culture. The result is that occupational stress is increasingly common amongst Hong Kong secondary school teachers and social workers. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative ethnographic study involving 16 in-depth interviews with community leaders, teachers and school-based social workers. How does a changing society affect youth work in general? How does greater discussion of democracy and human rights in the public sphere affect the way that youth service providers perform youth work? What are the changing roles and responsibilities of these providers in offering support to Hong Kong youth? The research themes that emerged include changing demographics and youth scene, a democratising public sphere in relation to Chinese youth and professionalism as a youth service provider.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-675
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number5
Early online date4 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese youth
  • Hong Kong
  • Social work practice
  • education and schooling
  • sexual minorities
  • youth work


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