'Choice Biography' and the importance of the social

Neil Small, Nicole Pawson, Raghu Raghavan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Recent European Union and Economic and Social Research Council funded research has scrutinized the concept of choice and future orientation in those undergoing transitions into adulthood. The focus of interest has been on the interplay of social structure and individual agency. We draw on initial findings from a Department of Health funded study to critique these new ways of thinking. In what ways do people with learning disabilities manifest the same attitudes to choice and risk evident in recent studies of young people? Do they demonstrate similar models of adaptation to the future? We will explore, via three case study examples, the tension between individual agency and family attitudes to future possibilities. We will argue that advances in the sociology of youth are in danger of assuming that the individualized 'choice biography' is the predominant model of transition. This does not reflect the importance of social networks and family relationships in young people with learning disability. For them, risk-management and the pursuit of well-being are pursued in the social domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-165
JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


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