Tilley, Elizabeth and Graham, Helen
Histories of Institutional Change, Choice and Money (Special Issue of the British Journal of Learning Disabilities).
Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.
The story of change associated with long-stay and community-based institutions is, of course, intimately related to how society itself has changed over the past sixty years. However, accounts of institutional change do not simply reflect a ‘bigger’ story of social change. Rather the desire to change daily life for people with learning disabilities – first within the walls of institutions and, more recently, beyond – has always had a more interesting relationship with ‘wider society’. As phrases such as ‘normalisation’, ‘an ordinary life’ or ‘a life like any other’ all suggest, bound up with perceptions of what is appropriate for people with learning disabilities and, therefore, how institutions and practices should be adapted, is a constant calibration of what is normal/usual for others. Within this daily and ongoing calibration, how both time and money are spent play key roles. It was the question of the relationship between time, money and institutions which was the focus of the Social History of Learning Disability Group conference and seminar ‘Spending Time’ and ‘Spending Time in Institutions’ which was convened at the Open University in 2008 and whose articles have formed the basis of this special issue.
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