Education Research Seminar – 25th May 2017

The Education Research Centre and School of Education presented this seminar, which was part of the Working with Children & Young People provision, on 25th May 2017:

Understanding Youth Services reform: beyond the language of austerity

Dr Ian McGimpsey, University of Birmingham 

The seminar was attended by 20+ undergraduate and postgraduate students, and academic staff.

You can download his slides from the talk as a pdf here:

McGimpsey_New Youth Sector Assemblage Brighton Seminar May 2017-1jcfjun

And can view a film of him talking here:






Youth services in England have undergone rapid reform since 2008, including severe funding cuts. The language of austerity has been widely used to characterize these reforms, in common with accounts of public policy-making in the UK more generally and other post-industrial nations since the financial crisis.

In this paper, Dr McGimpsey argued that ‘austerity’ is an inadequate conceptual basis for understanding these reforms, and that instead youth services exemplify the effects of a late neoliberal regime in which a finance capital imaginary has become increasingly effective in guiding reform and regulation.

He showed how this regime has simultaneously disassembled the quasi-marketised youth services that had expanded under New Labour, and begun to assemble a new youth sector founded on norms of social investment and return. He traced the effects of this regime through the productive relations of capital distributions, policy discourse, and organizational forms.

Ian is Lecturer in Education at the School of Education, University of Birmingham. Following ten years professional experience in youth services, community organising, and education policy, his research has focused on how policy relates to educational provision particularly for marginalised young people. His work has a conceptual focus on assemblage and the politics of subjectivity.