New labour's teenage pregnancy policy: Constituting knowing responsible citizens?

  • Carabine J
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This chapter explores the changing governmental approach to the problem of teenage pregnancy in the UK. It argues that there has been a shift from moral traditionalism towards individualized approaches based on promoting responsi-bility, agency and prudent choice-making. New Labour's approach to teenage pregnancy marks a decisive turning point in governmental regulation, documenting the failure of previous approaches and establishing three distinctive discursive strategies: 1. risk management through knowledge acquisition; 2. constituting active knowing welfare citizens; 3. reconstituting blame. The paper ends by examining how this approach forms part of New Labour's combined and contradictory project of 'modernizing the social' and 'remoralizing welfare'. The relationship between social change, modernity and individualization has been much debated in contemporary social theory. Commentators such as Beck (1992) and Giddens (1991) have characterized contemporary society as a more reflexive modernity that is coupled to the emergence of the 'risk society' and greater individualization in which the traditional certainties of family, class and gender Á the security of life-long marriage and employment Á have been eroded giving way to uncertainty and risk. With the erosion of these once taken for granted norms individuals now have to choose, for example, how to live their lives and form relationships. Greater individualization has also been produced by social policy approaches that have increasingly constructed

Author-supplied keywords

  • Responsibility
  • Risk
  • Self-regulating subjects
  • Teenage pregnancy

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  • Jean Carabine

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