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"An oasis for us": 'in-between' spaces of training for people with mental health problems in the Scottish Highlands

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Geoforum
Issue number6
Volume36
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)778-791
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date18/07/05
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Training and Guidance (TAG) units in the Scottish Highlands are sites that people with mental health problems can access for training and learning activities designed to prepare them for (re-)entry into the labour market. These units also perform other, perhaps more intangible, roles in assisting trainees to cope with their mental health problems, thereby offering a supportive setting with therapeutic dimensions (albeit one not explicitly configured as delivering therapy). In this paper we explore the ?in-between? quality of the TAG units as spaces that might be said to possess dual economic and social roles. Using primarily qualitative evidence, we investigate both sets of roles, debating the extent to which the economic and social imperatives complement or contradict one another. The paper contributes to critical commentary on how ?workfare? initiatives articulate with the experiences and concerns of disabled trainees, the novelty arising in part from centralising the material spaces at the heart of such initiatives.