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Interweaving the narrative voices of care-leavers in the secondary analyses reported in this book (Chapters 3–6, and summarised in Chapter 7), this chapter provides a detailed account of philosopher Michael Bratman’s ‘remarkable trio’ model of planning agency, followed by a reformulation of one aspect of Bratman’s model – the cross-temporal aspect, based on the wide range of experience of time and planning discussed by young people in this book, as well as a wider literature on subjective and alternative time. Interplaying with young people’s voices summarised in Chapter 7, this chapter reflects on each aspect of a non-dogmatic three-aspects model of planning (what matters, shared deliberation, and a sense of personal time) focused on young people with experience of compounded adversity. Each aspect is regarded as a potential strength (in contrast to the idea that lack of future orientation might be regarded as a vulnerability or deficit requiring an intervention). The chapter ends with an account of expressive logics and counterlogics for planning: this dynamic logic may be regarded as forming a potential basis for practice-based collaborative and co-design work on planning during transition from out-of-home care (see Chapter 10).

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This chapter asks the question: can young people’s own starting points for planning also be the starting points of services, or potential services, starting points for research and service co-design and co-production, and starting points for individual help and support? The chapter begins with poet and playwright Lemn Sissay’s inspirational phrase ‘flags in the mountainside’, referring to his own poems, which ‘chart the journey’, but perhaps of wider relevance to what matters and who matters for individual young people? The chapter then discusses recognition theory, a major source of contemporary thought – and active debate – about freedom, and the struggle for minoritised peoples’ voices to be heard. The chapter then foregrounds co-design of planning aspects of cross-disciplinary aftercare services – a potential form of recognition for care-experienced young people. Seeking out a wider literature on co-design with minoritised and marginalised groups, the chapter connects research from relationally oriented co-design in environmental sustainability, to participatory research with young people living in severely adverse circumstances. With this cross-fertilisation of ideas, and following Alison Greenaway, the final chapter tentatively applies the notion of ‘methodological sensitivities for co-producing knowledge through enduring trustful partnerships’ to co-design of planning with young people in transition from out-of-home care, building provisionally on the three aspects of planning, and the key role of emotion (including anger), discussed in this book.

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This chapter is the fourth of four case-based chapters in which interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA: see Chapter 2 for background and methodology) is used to understand how eight care-leavers (two research participants per chapter) use multifaceted reflexivity to articulate what/who matters, and formulate a stance on planning. A 24-year-old man, who is slightly older than the other participants in this study, has a deep personal commitment to his friends (compare Chapter 5), and to a wider cause of addressing injustice for young people in care. He is in full-time work. The second male participant, although ‘on the surface’ seeming to be relatively non-reflexive, ‘warmed’ during his discussion of what and who matters, and with humour and irony focused on friends, and slightly less on education, and regretted that you “couldn’t get a degree in friends.” Neither participant wished to plan for the future, the older one reframing planning as a highly committed day-to-day responsibility for his friends, and for his work, and the younger man saying “Not really much of a planner myself!”

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This chapter summarises Chapters 3–6 under the categories of the proposed three aspects of planning – two of which have been present, in various guises, since the start of the book – what/who matters (central to Archer’s model of reflexivity and planning, and richly discussed by care-leavers in this study), and a sense of personal time and planning (initially via some care-leavers’ scepticism about future-oriented planning), and the third, shared deliberation and shared planning strongly ‘present’ in the secondary analyses in Chapters 3–6. These three aspects (of planning) might each be viewed as strengths, in contrast to the view that ‘lack’ of future-oriented planning might be regarded as a vulnerability. The chapter, read together with Chapter 8, can provide a ‘live iteration’ in which qualitative data are summarised from Chapters 3–6 and, in Chapter 8, the work of Michael Bratman is discussed, whose work interplays in a deeply fascinating way with the voices of the young people in Chapters 3–6. His idea of the ‘remarkable trio of capacities’ for planning is a major source of the idea of the three-aspects model of planning for this book, in interplay with Archer’s work on reflexivity in social context, and re-imagined via young people’s sense of personal time.

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This chapter is the second of four case-based chapters in which interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA: see Chapter 2 for background and methodology) is used to understand how eight care-leavers (two research participants per chapter) use their capacities for multifaceted reflexivity to articulate what/who matters, and to formulate a stance on planning. In strong contrast to Chapter 3, a young woman and a young man – both seeking work – identify ‘myself’ as of central importance, each with rich and detailed descriptions of precise meanings, linking embodied experience of compounded adversity – for the woman this included peer victimisation, in addition to maltreatment at home. Anger is evident in both narratives. Future planning is absolutely rejected by both, the young man saying: “I don’t believe in future.” Shared deliberation, perhaps surprisingly – given participants’ seemingly profound emphasis on self-reliance – is of significant importance to both.

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This chapter is the first of four case-based chapters in which interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA: see Chapter 2 for background and methodology) is used to understand how eight care-leavers (two research participants per chapter) use multifaceted reflexivity to articulate what/who matters, and to formulate a stance on planning. Two young women participants (both seeking work) identify family (birth and/or foster family) as of crucial importance; one also expects to start college, the other to hold on to new housing accommodation. Participants use mental time travel to provide intricate autobiographical detail to each of these matters. Future planning is flatly rejected by both, but some everyday planning and organising is discussed – linked closely to what and who matters. An example of complex decision-making about family is also discussed by one participant. Shared deliberation with family and friends is of great importance to both – indeed of more importance than internal conversations.

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This chapter describes the compounded adversity care-leavers have to address during the transition from out-of-home care, and asks the question: how do care-leavers use reflexivity and planning during this transition? The chapter deals with this question initially via Margaret Archer’s programmatic work on the importance of internal conversations as reflexive mediators between agency and structure – a framework that underpinned our own research with care-leavers. Qualitative data from our work, using Archer’s internal conversations research interview with care-leavers, give voice to young people ‘making connections’ between previous adverse experience and current ways of using internal conversation, discussing ‘Which areas of your life matter most to you at the moment?’, and expressing their personal approaches to future-oriented planning. This chapter provides details of the internal conversations interview (developed by Margaret Archer), the qualitative analysis method utilised in our studies: interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), and findings from our two primary studies of internal conversations and planning with care-experienced young people.

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This chapter is the third of four case-based chapters in which interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA: see Chapter 2 for background and methodology) is used to understand how eight care-leavers (two research participants per chapter) use multifaceted reflexivity to articulate what/who matters, and to formulate a stance on planning. One young woman (seeking work) and one young man (on an educational course, and in volunteer work) give expressive accounts of what and who matters in their lives at the moment – with individual logics of meanings linking what and who mattered with reflexive discussions about other aspects of their lives, including, for the woman, embodied experience of racist adolescent peer victimisation, in addition to severe neglect by her birth family; and for the man, embodied experience of family-based childhood bullying. Post-school education formed a thoughtful and personal focus for both young people. Shared deliberation with friends was important for both – for the young man a long-standing friendship group is experienced as “like family”. Future planning, for both, is calibrated cautiously: for the young man “plan is good but not too far ahead”, and the woman gives an impassioned account of how transition experiences (including public service administrative errors) had affected her developing sense of future time and planning.

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This chapter builds on sociologist Margaret Archer’s 2007 phrase: ‘No reflexivity; no society’ by attempting to understand much more about the granular detail of care-leavers reflexive accounts of (1) what and who is important in individual care leaver’s lives (what matters and who matters), and (b) some care-leavers’ scepticism about future-oriented planning. First, the chapter broadens the range of ways of seeing reflexivity, beyond internal conversations, to include self-reflection, embodiment, shared deliberation, and mental time travel. Second, armed with this wider view of reflexivity and reflexivities, interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is introduced as the qualitative methodology used in a secondary analysis of Hung and Appleton’s primary research data on what matters, and planning, for a diverse sample of eight care-leavers in London, England. The IPA-based analysis (conducted for this book, and discussed in Chapters 3–6) emphasises idiography, participants’ highly detailed personal logics and counterlogics (for what matters and for planning), meaning-making via expressive language, and a Wittgensteinian philosophical context of aspect realism. Finally, the structure of Chapters 3–6 is introduced.

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In addition to outlining its purposes, and structure, this introductory chapter to What Matters and Who Matters to Young People Leaving Care: A New Approach to Planning contextualises the book, discussing its origins in qualitative research on care-leavers’ internal conversations. Why internal conversations? Sociologist Margaret Archer proposed that internal conversations may act as reflexive ‘mediators’ between agency and structure. The chapter discusses the book’s standpoint that care-leavers bring a rich hoard of reflexive experience to all aspects of planning, including – for some young people – a deep and detailed scepticism about future-oriented planning. The centrality, for the book, of young people’s reflective and autobiographical answers to the internal conversations research interview question ‘Which areas of your life matter most to you at the moment?’ is discussed. The interview transcripts of even those young people who were ‘struggling’ the most had a rich and expressive narrative about what mattered most and who mattered most in their lives. The chapter introduces the notion that planning may not, for some young people, begin with future-oriented goal-setting. The idea of an alternative and non-dogmatic three-aspects approach to planning is introduced, with implications for a wide range of cross-disciplinary services working with care-experienced young people.

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