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Title: Choices for people with an intellectual impairment: official discourse and everyday practice
Authors: Antaki, Charles
Finlay, W.M.L.
Walton, Chris
Keywords: Intellectual disability
Learning disability
Mental retardation
Residential services
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: © Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Citation: ANTAKI, C., FINLAY, W.M.L. and WALTON, C., 2009. Choices for people with an intellectual impairment: official discourse and everyday practice. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 6 (4), pp. 260-266.
Abstract: Official policy talk of "choice" for people with intellectual impairments tends towards fundamental life-choices (e.g. who to marry, what job to work at) at the expense of the minor but more frequent concerns of daily living (when to wash, what to eat, where to go in the evening). Statutes and Mission Statements are unspecific about how any such choices, big or small, are, or should be, offered. It is also silent on the relation of choices to institutional imperatives. To redress the balance, we report on five everyday varieties of choices in a (British) residential home. The data come from an ethnographic study of residential services for people with intellectual impairment, located within a National Health Service Trust in the South of England. Over the course of nine months, a researcher (one of the authors, C.W.) engaged with residents and staff in two residences in the geographical boundaries of this Trust. He took ethnographic field notes of everyday interactions, and made video and audio recordings. Conversation Analysis was used to explicate the interactions. It showed how staff, although undoubtedly well-meaning, can use the discourse of choice to promote institutional managerial objectives, and we discuss the gap between such practice and overarching policy theory and recommendation.
Description: This article was published in the serial, Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities [© Blackwell Publishing Ltd]. The definitive version will be available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1741-1130
Sponsor: The research for this article was funded by ESRC grant number RES-148-25-0002
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-1130.2009.00230.x
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/5439
ISSN: 1741-1122
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies)

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