​Imposed identities and limited opportunities: advocacy agency staff perspectives on the construction of their clients with intellectual disabilities

Author(s) Dorozenko, Kate, P., Lynne  D Roberts & Brian J Bishop
Title Imposed identities and limited opportunities: advocacy agency staff perspectives on the construction of their clients with intellectual disabilities
Source Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, Online before print March 2015; pp. 1-18
Date 2015
Document type Journal article
Coverage Australia
Summary This study promotes a postmodernist perspective when studying people with an intellectual disability; how they are perceived and the role they play in society. Although the studies into identity and social roles have been limited, the author discusses previous research that has examined the stigma existing in association to people with an intellectual disability and the way it impedes on any self-identity and social role an individual may have. The author also illustrates the contested nature of this debate, stating that research also shows that people with an intellectual disability are often unaware of this stigmatised identity placed onto them. The authors carry out a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews with the staff members of an advocacy agency for people with intellectual disabilities in order to explore the perspectives of social construction by people who work closely with them. The study uses causal layers to interpret the interview data and reveals certain aspects of dehumanisation and victim blaming. Application for service delivery and the need to start a dialogue with staff in the services and empower the clients to make change is discussed. The study concludes by further emphasising the importance of having a postmodernist understanding to encourage and transform the social structures that are in place as well as challenge the current power struggles that exists that lead to this imposed identity. 
Keywords Social construction, intellectual disability, advocacy agency, dehumanisation, victim,
Topic Disability