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Home from home: UK civilising offensives in residential childcare.

Vertigans, Stephen



Approaches to residential childcare within the United Kingdom incorporate processes that are ostensibly types of civilising offensives. The offensives are determined by political and media groups in an attempt to alter the behaviour of problematic sections of the population in alignment with populist notions about what constitutes civilised norms, values and activities. These policies are part of recurring child rearing and schooling offensives that were noticeable throughout industrialisation and colonialism. Contemporary approaches intentionally, or otherwise, are part of wider processes which are resulting in emergent and reinforcing spatial, dispositional barriers between the established and young outsiders. Interconnected weakening chains of mutual interdependence are enabling the disproportionate imposition of punitive measures against vulnerable members of society to either be supported or ignored. These fraying threads of relationships present further challenges for children and young people living in care and their carers who must seek to develop life chances against a backdrop of declining opportunities.


VERTIGANS, S. 2015. Home from home: UK civilising offensives in residential childcare. Human figurations [online], 4(1), article number 4. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 31, 2015
Online Publication Date Jan 31, 2015
Publication Date Jan 31, 2015
Deposit Date Feb 27, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 27, 2018
Journal Human figurations
Electronic ISSN 2166-6644
Publisher Michigan Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 1
Article Number 4
Keywords Civilising offensive; Established outsider relations; Informalisation; Residential childcare; Young people
Public URL
Publisher URL


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