Challenging the reductionism of “evidence-based” youth justice
journal contributionposted on 29.06.2021, 09:19 by Stephen Case
The generation of empirical evidence to explain offending by children and young people has been a central driver of criminological and sociological research for more than two centuries. Across the international field of youth justice, empirical research evidence has become an integral means of complementing and extending the knowledge and understanding of offending offered by the official enquiries and data collection of professional stakeholders and an essential tool for informing ‘evidence-based’ policy, practice and ‘effective intervention’. However, it will be argued that the hegemonic empirical evidence-base created by youth justice research over the past two decades has been generated through methodological reductionism - the oversimplification of complexity, the restriction of conceptual lens and the relative exclusion of competing explanatory paradigms and empirical methodologies, which in turn, has reduced the scope and validity of the policy and practice recommendations derived from it.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Social and Policy Studies