Villkorad normalitet

– berättelser om det (o)normala under och efter placering på särskilt ungdomshem




normality, secure care, young people, young adults, sad tales, relational perspective, institutional practices, longitudinal qualitative research


Conditioned normality - stories of (ab)normal life during and after secure care placements

Secure care for young people has an ambiguous mission. It is supposed to socially integrate troubled young people into society by excluding them from the same. As such, young people are supposed to be normalised by abnormal interventions. Young people in secure care also experience the placement as deviant. In this study, we depart from a relational understanding of normality and stories of apology, ‘sad tales’, to explore how young people understand and do normality during and after placement in secure.

This interview-based study builds on almost a decade-long engagement with 11 young people, following their lives after institutional placement. The analysis demonstrates three different ways of doing normality: 1) integrating the normalisation practices of the institution in their current life, 2) distancing and, if possible, hiding their experiences from others and, 3) isolating themselves from overly close relationships because of repeated betrayals from adults. Although different in character, these three ways are underpinned by a focus on self-reliance and independence, and an emergent need ‘to behave’.

This study is a reminder that institutional practices of normality create a feeling of being deviant many years after leaving the institution. Thus, the need for developing supporting structures and relations that acknowledge and address the young people’s experiences of abnormality and in such way enable them to feel respected, valued and cared for, is emphasised.


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Sofia Enell, Institutionen för socialt arbete, Linnéuniversitetet

docent i socialt arbete


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Referera så här

Enell, S. och Allgurin, M. (2024) ”Villkorad normalitet: – berättelser om det (o)normala under och efter placering på särskilt ungdomshem”, Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, 30(3), s. 701–718. doi: 10.3384/SVT.2023.30.3.4204.