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“People make judgements”: Learning from the stories of adults who grew up i...

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Penrith Methodist Church

Wordsworth Street

Penrith

CA11 7QY

United Kingdom

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“People make judgements”: Learning from the stories of adults who grew up in care
In society, academic research and the popular media, children in care are often perceived as criminal, damaged, deviant, less likely to achieve in education, and more likely to become homeless or become parents as teenagers. These inform the dominant narrative of what it means to grow up in care. Despite this there is little evidence that these expectations are valid across the life course. The talk will highlight how such expectations can be interpreted and negotiated by individuals as they negotiate their social identity. The stories we tell about ourselves are of great importance because they shape who we are, both personally and socially. For adults who spent time growing up in care the stories that they can tell about their childhoods, and their lives, are affected and at times silenced, by cultural understandings of what it means to grow up in care.

This thought-provoking talk will explore how participants’ stories could challenge, or at times reinforce, the negative expectations of others. Particular focus will be given to how participants’ stories give insights into the context of their lives, creating a socially sensitive understanding of the factors involved in producing ‘poor’ outcomes. Participants’ stories highlight how social interactions with professionals, colleagues, and institutions can have a deleterious effect on the social identity of people whom have been in care. Optimistically, participants’ stories show how as the life course continues new opportunities for identity negotiation emerge.

Biography
Cat Hugman is a lecturer at the University of Cumbria, teaching on the Social Work programmes and is a core member of a fostering panel. Cat graduated with first class honours in sociology from University of Northumbria in 2007. She subsequently obtained a Masters in Social Research at Northumbria University before embarking on a funded PhD, again at Northumbria University. Cat is passionate about the potential of research to contribute to advancing social justice and enabling marginalised voices to be heard. She is keen to promote partnerships between practitioners and academics. Cat’s presentation will focus on the stories of adults who spent time growing up in care, these were collected for her PhD thesis titled: ‘What’s the Story? Sociological explorations of care-experienced adults’ life narratives’.
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Penrith Methodist Church

Wordsworth Street

Penrith

CA11 7QY

United Kingdom

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