The identities and social roles of people with an intellectual disability: challenging dominant cultural worldviews, values and mythologies
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This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability & Society on 27/11/2015 available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09687599.2015.1093461
Intellectual disability is commonly conceptualised as stigmatised identity with which one has to live. However, within the literature the notion of a damaged identity is contested. The aim of this research was to explore the social construction of intellectual disability, with an emphasis on the identities and social roles of people with an intellectual disability. Informed by a contextualist perspective, this research was conducted within a participatory framework. The co-researchers involved in this research were 18 members of an advocacy agency. Photovoice and conversational interviewing were used to collect data and causal layered analysis was used to deconstruct the data. Analysis of the interactions that emerged across the causal layers revealed a complex dynamic of worldviews which served to construct people with an intellectual disability as incompetent, inherently different and not quite human. For genuine, transformative change to occur, developing an awareness and understanding of social processes, such as dehumanisation, is crucial.
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