Department of Social Work
Social withdrawal as invisible youth disengagement: Government inaction and NGO responses in Hong Kong
The purpose of this paper is to critically discuss state inaction on and NGO responses to the hidden problem of youth disengagement in the form of social withdrawal. The study is based on data drawn from six focus groups of social workers working with youths experiencing the problem of social withdrawal and another 30 individual interviews with service users having had this vulnerable background. Substantiated with empirical findings, the paper argues that young people in social withdrawal characterized by their socially avoidant behavior and deprivation of an engagement status as a worker, student or trainee are largely invisible to the state because of the latter's insensitivity to the heterogeneity and diversity of disengaged youth and reproduction of the anti-social notion of at-risk youth. A flexible and tailor-made strategy initiated by an NGO is argued to be more effective in meeting the needs of silently-disengaged young people. This paper critically examines state inaction on the problem of youth disengagement in the form of social withdrawal and argues the importance of adopting a flexible and tailor-made strategy with regard to both outreaching and service provision efforts. © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Hikikomori, Hong Kong, Invisibility, NEET, Non-engaged youth, Social behaviour, Social withdrawal, Youth, Youth disengagement
Source Publication Title
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Link to Publisher's Edition
Wong, Victor. "Social withdrawal as invisible youth disengagement: Government inaction and NGO responses in Hong Kong." International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 32.8-7 (2012): 415-430.