AN ETHOS FOR THE TIMES: DIFFERENCE, IMAGINATION, AND THE UNKNOWN FUTURE IN CHILD AND YOUTH CARE
What does it mean to develop an “ethos for the times” when the times we are living in are marked by ongoing change, unpredictability, and uncertainty? How do we make sense of, and actively engage with, the complexities that surround us? What ideas, values, and frameworks can help us, and those we work with, to feel most alive to our mutual potentials and collective possibilities? These questions provide a point of departure for thinking about Child and Youth Care (CYC) in the 21st century. In a world that is always on the move, we need to constantly re-evaluate our theoretical and practice frameworks to determine if they are useful and relevant for the times in which we are now living. As Ulrich Beck (2000) put it, “[the] attempt to apply nineteenth-century ideas to the twenty-first century is the pervasive category mistake of social theory, social sciences and politics” (emphasis in original, p. 224). Recognizing that the field of CYC is itself a site of contested meanings, where ongoing debates about identities, roles, boundaries of practice, and professional status continue to animate the field, the aim of this piece is not to argue for more certainty, specificity, or role clarity. On the contrary, it is a call for increased plurality, greater imagination, and an ongoing openness to the unknown future.
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