1st Edition

Neurodivergent Youthhoods Adolescent Rites of Passage, Disability and the Teenage Epilepsy Clinic

By Shelda-Jane Smith Copyright 2024
    164 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Adolescent rites of passage are ubiquitous sociocultural processes that feature across all manner of social activity. As transitional healthcare becomes an increasing fixture within paediatric and adolescent healthcare, this book captures how normative, biomedical and psychologised understandings of youth development permeate social life.

    Through an in-depth institutional ethnography of a UK teenage epilepsy clinic, Shelda-Jane Smith shows how the prevailing social expectation of transforming from a dependent child into an independent, self-sufficient adult becomes the organising principle of clinical care. Interrogating the everyday work of the clinic and the experiences of parental and professional caregivers, Smith explores how the move from paediatric to adult healthcare gets renegotiated in the context of severe and profound learning disabilities, questioning what happens to transitional processes when young people do not conform to the social standards and expectations of youthhood that are placed upon them.

    From exploring the fervent application of neuro-psychological developmental models to interrogating expectations of individual independence, Smith draws from the disciplines of Science and Technology Studies, Critical Psychology and Disability Studies and Medical Anthropology to provide an invaluable lens for unpacking the underlying assumptions and tensions of care provision when young people do not emerge into adulthood in socially expected ways.

    1. Introduction

    2. Bridging Cultures of Care

    3. (Neuro)scientisation

    4. Cultural Scripts

    5. The Parentectomy

    6. Betwixt and Between

    7. The Paraclinical Workforce

    8. Dignity in Care


    Shelda-Jane Smith is Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, School of Environmental Sciences, UK. She is a social scientist exploring the relationship between medical and environmental sciences and culture, disability, race and the human life course. She is the co-author of A Beginners Guide to Building Better Worlds: Ideas and Inspiration from the Zapatistas (2022).