chapter  4
13 Pages

The social origins of normalisation: Simon Whitehead

Ideas, beliefs or concepts do not appear from nowhere. Although they may develop around specific issues their origins lie within a complex web of personal, social and political variables. This chapter seeks to explain why it was that normalisation became an influential concept in the development of human services. Normalisation did not arise in isolation, but was the distillation of significant ideas, movements and attitudes that came to the fore in the post-war period. It arose partly out of international concerns, reflected in the human and civil rights movements and the new sociology of the 1960s and also as a result of social and political changes specific to the United Kingdom (although these have their clear parallels in other Western countries where the concept became a force for change). These background issues need to be traced and the connections between them defined, in order to understand the limitations imposed on normalisation by its historical origins.