Individualisation points to the social demand and the individual opportunity for development of competencies to become a participatory actor in society.
Individualisation as a special developmental and forming process is often seen as starting in the end of the 18th century bourgeois society and as basic to the forming of the modern ideas of individual rights. At the institutional level individualisation is taking place inside social trajectories and at the individual level individualisation is the process of developing a biography. The discussions of individualisation today are mostly focused at the new demands and forms of individualisation, which exist in late modern societies where individuals can make their own political, private, educational and professional choices. The late modern process of individualisation started in the after war period and paved the ground for the anti-authoritarian 68-generation. Late modern individualisation is often described as a situation which gives more freedom to individual choice and at the same time makes individual agency more influential in society. The central role of the individual in late modern societies calls for more learning and education to make individuals more competent as social actors. This learning perspective on individualisation makes youth a new central actor of society.
The individualisation process both expresses an opportunity and a challenge. To be able to manage life individually demands individual competencies, abilities for sense-making and cooping faculties. People need “identity or individualisation capital”. Therefore individualisation is also a process of inequality development. Individualisation has often been seen as unequal because individuals had different social and class background. Today individualisation processes are more dependent on processes of individualisation inside educational institutions. Institutional individualisation however differentiates its students and in this way inequality and differentiation will easily create processes of social marginalisation. (SM)
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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 May 2006 )