Kenniscentrum Maatschappij en Recht

Struggles for success

Youth work rituals in Amsterdam and Beirut


In Amsterdam and Beirut, Abdallah has ethnographically researched interactional dynamics between disadvantaged young people, regarding experiences of success, in settings of education, work, sports, and music. He analyzed how focus, mood, and bodily deployment produced shared symbols, emotional contagions, and situated solidarities and moralities.<br/>He came to characterize constructive interactions as a main context for young people to experience three components of success: boosts, elevation, and grounding. Combinations of these experiences have important restorative effects for young people who suffer from an abundance of adversity and discouragement. Tensions arise for young people between, on the one hand, their loyalties toward old settings of belonging with their short-term, at times destructive, tendencies and, on the other hand, their success in new settings which demanded of them new types of discipline and commitments. Continued success depends partly on young people’s abilities, but more so on the availability of constructive interaction rituals helping them manage such tensions, without necessarily committing to one loyalty over the other. Next to young people’ s dynamics and processes, Abdallah has focused on the input of NGO professionals and volunteers in such constructive interactions to learn how their involvement can help young people in their struggles for success.<br/>The analysis employs concepts of sociological studies of emotions, such as interaction rituals, emotion management, and embodied dispositions to clarify how emotion, experience and energy act as driving forces in young people’s activities and development.

Reference Abdallah, S. (2017). Struggles for success: Youth work rituals in Amsterdam and Beirut. [Research HvA, graduation external, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen]. Universiteit van Amsterdam.
1 November 2017

Publication date

Nov 2017


universiteit van faculteit
Bowen Paulle


Research database