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Empowerment, self-advocacy and resilience

Goodley, Dan A. (2005) Empowerment, self-advocacy and resilience. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 9 (4). pp. 333-343. ISSN 1744-6295

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Abstract

This article critiques the relationship between the aims of ‘learning disability’ policy and the realities of the self-advocacy movement. A previous study found that self-advocacy can be defined as the public recognition of the resilience of people with learning difficulties. In the current climate of Valuing People, partnership boards and ‘user empowerment’, understanding resilience is crucial to the support of authentic forms of self-advocacy. This article aims to address such a challenge. First, understandings of resilience in relation to self-empowerment and self-advocacy are briefly considered. Second, the current policy climate and service provision rhetoric are critically explored. Third, it is argued that we need to recognize how self-advocacy groups celebrate resilience through a variety of social and identity-shifting actions. How current policy responds to these aspects of resilience is questioned. It is concluded that the lived reality of self-advocacy needs to be foregrounded in any attempt to understand empowerment.

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