Two critiques of the emerging consensus in the conceptualization and measurement of quality of life were presented. The first suggests that there are insuperable problems in assessing subjective indicators of quality of life and that this aspect of the quality of life approach should be abandoned. The second critique is that the quality of life approach, which claims to liberate people from a medical model, may paradoxically serve to extend the license of services to exert control over all facets of a person's life. In this view, the quality of life approach should be abandoned altogether. The solutions that follow from these two critiques were critically discussed with the aim of provoking a debate around the quality of life approach.
The author thanks Eric Emerson for providing detailed comments and discussion on earlier drafts of this paper and for encouraging me to write it. My thanks are also given to Steven J. Taylor and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive reviews of an earlier draft of this paper.