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To plan or not to plan: The internal conversations of young people leaving care

Hung, Isabelle and Appleton, Peter (2015) 'To plan or not to plan: The internal conversations of young people leaving care.' Qualitative Social Work. ISSN 1473-3250

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Abstract

The purpose of this research is to characterise the internal conversations of individual young people in transition from state care, with a goal of supporting practitioners’ approaches to ‘pathway planning’, and contributing to theories of agency in emerging adulthood under conditions of long-term adversity. We used Margaret Archer’s theory of agency, in which internal conversations are regarded as playing a central role in mediating between structure and agency. Archer describes three different modes of (actively agential) internal conversation: communicative reflexivity, autonomous reflexivity and meta-reflexivity; and one mode of passive agency: fractured reflexivity – associated with adverse contextual constraints. In a qualitative design, using Archer’s open-ended interview framework we met nine participants, aged 19–24, varying considerably in outcome, recruited at a specialised service for care leavers in London UK. Analysis of the interview data included an extended phase of individual case analysis. Two participants experienced emerging active agency (however, both experienced elements of fractured reflexivity). Three participants experienced fractured reflexivity, with limited internal conversation, and low planning agency (however, each experienced green shoots of focused internal dialogue). Four participants experienced a survival-oriented mode of internal conversations, a category not found in Archer’s previous work. All four of these participants showed some elements of fractured reflexivity, but narrated rich internal conversations, including accounts of adverse experiences in which self-reliance was seen as having been essential. The majority of participants (across modes) found the idea of planning (beyond day-to-day) anathema.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leaving care internal conversations planning Margaret Archer young people adversity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2015 11:07
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2015 11:07
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13544

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