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Support is a term to describe different forms of strengthening people to cope with social and mental challenges in a more successful way. This can be done by informal communication among peers, members of families or neighbours. In a professional sector it is offered by social services, medical aid, teaching aids et. al. Support is based on interaction because it relies on the ability of a person to realize it’s own demand and to accept and co-construct the offer. In a professional way support means an intervention on a basis of a system or a setting of interaction either in a setting of group work, community work, of advisory or of case-management. Interaction is based on methodological knowledge and theoretical reflection of the conditions to cooperate and to handle conflicts. Social support can be given by a broad range of methods including mediation, empowerment, community work. Support is also a term of transfering material and money.

GOETE investigates how students try and manage to cope with educational demands. It analyses measures of active inclusion through provision of social support and informal support inside and outside school and how formal, non-formal and informal learning are related within education systems in general and in educational trajectories in particular. What are the conditions and constellations under which productive learning occurs and how are learning biographies constructed? A variety of support mechanisms (formal, informal and nonformal) have been implemented in schools and these vary within different welfare regimes. Still, further knowledge is needed on contemporary models of support. To be successful in the context of modernity, means to establish oneself in social contexts. New models of motivational programmes, or so called engagement mentoring have emerged as interventions with socially excluded young people which are closely connected with the professions of guidance and youth work. Essential is acknowledging individuals in a holistic way. A more accurate understanding of young people’s subjectivities could offer a great deal to policy and practice, especially taking the pragmatically rational aspects of career and lifestyle decisions into consideration.


Caplan, Gerald (1974): Support systems and Community Mental Health. New York, Basic Books.

Colley, H. (2003) Mentoring for Social Inclusion. A critical approach to nurturing mentoring relationships. Routledge Farmer

Harvard Family Research Project (1995) Raising our Future. Families, Schools and Communities Joining Together. Cambridge/MA: Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Lareau, A. (1996) Common problems in field work. A personal essay. In: Journeys Through Ethnography. Realistic Accounts of Fieldwork (eds. A. Lareau & J. Shulz), pp. 195-236. Westview Press, Colorado.

Mayall B.(1996) Children, Health and the Social Order. Open University Press, Buckingham.

Pithouse, A (2008) Early Intervention in the Round: A Great Idea But…British Journal of Social Work 38; 1536-1552.

Rappaport, Julian (1981) Terms of empowerment – examples of prevention: toward a theory of community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15, pp. 121-139.

(Ilse Julkunen & Rainer Treptow)