There are many youth workers who continue to design their interventions without any theoretical
basis, despite a long history of youth work as a field of practice. The aim of this article is to present
selected ideologies and theoretical frameworks underpinning youth work practice. These ideologies
and theories, although predominantly borrowed from other disciplines, provide insight on how youth
work should be practised.
Based on a thorough literature review, the authors have selected different theories and ideologies
that youth workers, like other professionals, are expected to know, understand and to adapt to youth
work practice. These theories are important and would serve as theoretical frameworks on which
youth work interventions will be based and, thereby, provide youth workers with the means to predict
and analyse the situations of young people from different viewpoints to enable the development of
different strategies to address relevant problems.
The article concludes that theories and ideologies should be used as reference points, and youth
workers mix and match different theories and ideologies depending on the nature of problem they
are addressing at that particular time.