“…To speak of the mutual constitution of personal lives and social policy is to suggest that each of these contributes to the formation of the other. ” Explain and illustrate this statement.
While it may first appear that ‘personal lives’ and ‘social policy’ are two distinct areas of everyday life, closer exploration will show how close the two intertwine and entangle and actually provide a way for each to give meaning and constitution to each other (Fink and Lewis et al, pg 6). This essay will attempt to explain and illustrate the idea of the mutual constitution of personal lives and social policy using a personal narrative by Jane Campbell.
This first part of the essay will look at what is mean by the personal followed by
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Her narrative also describes how she lives separate to her family; this gives some indication about her society’s views that adult children should be independent from their parents and wider society’s acceptance of adult disabled people also being afforded that independence and how much she herself welcomes that opportunity for independence. However, Higgins (1988 as cited in Fink and Lewis et al, 2009) states that the personal in sociological terms involves not just looking at the individual. Instead he states that the routine of each person’s life – their concerns and experiences are likely to be shared with others. Therefore “one individual’s personal sociology is likely to be in various ways many other people’s personal sociology.”(1988, as cited in Fink and Lewis et al, 2009 pg 3-4) Thus, the experiences Jane describes in her narrative such as living apart from her mother or receiving assistance at home and being disabled, will not be something that is personally unique to her, others will also share those aspects of Jane’s ‘personal’ thus showing insight into the lives of other disabled women in society. Yet, while it may be true that there are vast similarities between the personal lives of those sharing similar experiences there are always ‘exceptions to the rule’ and those that do not correspond to the predicted patterns expected of them. This is called excess. An example of this is the way Jane does not use the term disabled to describe her self and