Being, Becoming, Belonging: Negotiating Temporality, Memory, and Identity in Life Story Conversations with Care-experienced Children and Young people

Eleanor M Staples*, Debbie L Watson, Katie A Riches

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

This article uses Feminist New Materialist theoretical perspectives on time and temporality to critically explore the social work practice of life story work, designed to help children who are or have been in public care, or are adopted, assemble a coherent narrative of their care journey, adverse experiences and identity. Interview data presented here was produced with 17 participants (foster carers, adoptive parents and social work professionals in care or adoption teams) who were part of a project which sought to understand how aspects of life story work could be transformed into everyday care conversations between children and the adults who care for them (see www.difficultconversations.info). Our analysis highlights the way participants understood and constructed temporal elements of children’s experiences and identities: their pasts, presents and futures, in the context of having conversations about care with them. Through the discussion, we indicate a need to loosen the configuration of children’s life stories and identities as ‘pre-care’ and ‘post-care’, and instead move toward an acceptance of children’s multiple selves and multiple important others as existing across time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-57
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Social Work
Volume23
Issue number1
Early online date6 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Funding for the research was provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the University of Bristol Impact Acceleration Account: ES/M500410/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Structured keywords

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre

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