This paper discusses violent male youth culture in Northern Ireland within the context of a society emerging from a prolonged period of political violence towards peacebuilding. Specifically, the paper focuses on the findings from a qualitative study carried out by the Centre for Young Men’s Studies with 130 marginalized young men aged 13 – 16 from 20 different communities across Northern Ireland addressing themes of violence, conflict and safety. Despite a changing context of peacebuilding, findings reveal that violence and paramilitary influence continue to perpetuate a male youth sub culture epitomized by sectarianism and increasing racist attitudes. Underpinning this is an enduring cycle of suspicion, fear and distrust of others, and a confused state of mind that leaves these young men ‘stuck’ somewhere between the ceasefire mentality of paramilitaries and the ambiguous messages of peacebuilding. This paper concludes by stating the need for more realistic ways to engage and integrate marginalized young men into their communities.
Bibliographical noteFirst printed online 4th October 2010
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- marginalized young men
- violence and paramilitaries
- peacebuilding and youth work