‘Connectors, not Communities, in Preventing and Responding to Violence and Disaffection; Marginalised Youth and Complexities of ‘Community’


Principal Investigator: Basia Spalek
Co-investigators: Carlie Goldsmith, Peter Squires, Steve Hewitt
Collaborators: Abdul Haqq Baker, STREET; Kul Verma
Duration: From 2014 to 2015

A critical theme emerging from three scoping studies conducted as part of the Connected Communities programme is that, in relation to marginalised young people and their “connections and disconnections” with communities, key individuals [‘connectors’] working within and across multiple communities often play a significant role in mediating many of the critical issues facing their lives. This study has the following four objectives:
(1) To better understand who ‘connectors’ are, how they work with marginalised young people, and how they are viewed by their wider communities.
(2) To examine how ‘connectors’ claim and sustain legitimacy and influence.
(3) To examine some of the limits to the connector role and possible pressures to move connectors to the role of ‘grass’.
(4) To explore the role of ‘connectors’ from an historical perspective, exploring key cases in the past where interventions in relation to disaffection and violence might be conceptualized as involving ‘connectors’.