As we noted at the outset, the authors of this book come from a range of backgrounds. All have considerable experience in the field of health and social care and all currently teach on professional courses in these areas. We have also all, in a variety of ways, been patients, users of services and have both acquired the title and taken on the role of carer. In this book, we have foregrounded the importance of recognising that we all have multiple identities and have emphasised the significance of intersectionality. This will not, however, be how everyone experiences and understands their personal identity. For example, one of us was recently challenged by a black student who strongly rejected the view that identities constantly shift and change. She felt that this perspective challenged her black identity which she saw as being at the core of who she was and how she viewed the world. We accept that some will adopt a dominant identity which they feel wholly represents their prevailing view of themselves, while others will see their identities as multiple and constantly changing. Nevertheless, we argue that it is important to engage with the construction and experience of different subject positions and the way they influence our identities and our lived experiences. Difference and diversity affect ontological and epistemological stances as well as the degree of fluidity we accept in relation to ourselves and others. We accept that there are a variety of ways in which individuals and groups position themselves and that this affects interaction, involvement and participation.
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