Living an unstable life: Exploring facets of instability in the lives of care-leavers in Denmark

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This chapter explores facets of instability in the lives of young care-leavers. Care-leavers are often highlighted as living unstable lives and making ad hoc and short-term choices that limit their possibilities for long-term and life course planning. Theoretically, the chapter is informed by the concept of a habitus of instability which stresses that actions causing unstable patterns in the present are based on uncertain and unstable circumstances while growing up. Methodologically, the chapter draws on a qualitative longitudinal study with interviews being conducted with eight care-leavers approximately every six months over two years. Generally, the young people emphasised a habitus of instability as being the fundamental condition of life. However, the findings point to different ways they position themselves in relation to experiences of instability, as when they change their educational status, living arrangements and circle of friends. The chapter concludes by discussing the possible consequences of a habitus of instability in the lives of care-leavers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving on the Edge : Innovative Research on Leaving Care and Transitions to Adulthood
EditorsSamuel Keller, Inger Oterholm, Veronika Paulsen, Adrian D. van Breda
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherPolicy Press
Publication date17 Nov 2023
ISBN (Print)978-1447366294
ISBN (Electronic)978-1447366317
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023
SeriesResearch in Social Work


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