Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

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Citizenship and Higher Purpose

A quote from Beth Mount the inventor of person-centred planning.

Citizenship is related three ideals of democracy that are at the core of person-centred work. First, all people are created equal, which means that everyone is equally entitled to reach for their higher purpose. Second, in order to reach for higher purpose there must be equal opportunities to do so. Third, our work as citizens is not simply to receive but to give back; not to reach for our own higher purpose, but to do so in a way that contributes to the greater good. Pursuing these ideals strengthens society and enriches culture for us all.

Beth Mount in Citizenship and Person-Centred Work

Beth Mount is the real inventor of person-centred planning, although her work has largely gone unrecognised in the UK - perhaps because in her hands it is too subtle for the kind of industrialised approach that was encouraged by the Valuing People White Paper.

What is important about what Beth is saying here is that notions such as person-centredness must also be tied to a broader concern with citizenship. This means making two changes to how we currently think about both ideas.

First, we must recognise that the notion of person-centredness only really makes sense - and it does make sense - if we begin to see human life as having real purpose where each individual has their own purpose, their own distinctive role to play. Human beings are not just animals, merely meeting their needs; human beings are individuals, each with their own distinct contribution to make.

Second, we must stop treating citizenship as if it is primarily a political concept - that we are citizens because we are a certain kind of member of a certain kind of society. Citizenship is something we create, we create though our own individual contribution. This means it has an important and foundational moral character - it offers a pattern for how we should be with each other. This means that all of us can be citizens, can strive for citizenship, even when we live in a deeply paternalistic, meritocratic or oppressive society.