Group work as a method in open youth work in Icelandic youth centres

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This paper will discuss group work as an important part of the work being carried out in Icelandic youth clubs. I will look at this work in a historical context and examine the creation and the history of youth clubs. Ever since youth clubs in Iceland started operating in the year 1957, group work has been an integral part of the work. At the beginning the aim of the group work was to provide practical knowledge and prepare young people for work. The year 1971 marked the beginning of a new era with new ways of working and a theoretical approach started to be used in the field. This was due to the introduction of a specialised curriculum for youth workers that was based, amongst other things, on the theories of Danish social psychologist Sjölund. Although Sjölund is not as widely used today, his influences can be seen in today’s youth work. Today group work is based on a different foundation and is more in line with the approach developed by the pedagogue Laxvik and covered in his book Supportive Relationships (Bärande relationer) from the year 2001. However, it must be noted that in a short paper like this there is only scope to cover firstly the beginning of the use of group work in youth work in Iceland and secondly the theoretical influences of Sjölund on the group work of that time period. When covering Sjölund a case sample will be given. Thirdly Laxvik’s approach and the theoretical basis of modern group work in Iceland will be covered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-173
JournalThe International Journal of Open Youth Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Other keywords

  • Youth work
  • Group work
  • Theoretical framework
  • Historical context
  • Æskulýðsstarf
  • Saga


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