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Disability and care: a discourse analysis

Little, Amy (2012) Disability and care: a discourse analysis. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)


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This study explores ‘care’ and ‘disability’, as they are some of the most value-laden and flexible terms in society, with a multitude of definitions and interpretations. Socio-psychoanalytical concepts (Richards, 2008) were useful for illustrating the notion that narratives and discourses regarding disability are spoken in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Eagleton however (1983: 127), argues that one cannot be viewed without the other. This is why it is important to view both sides under their appropriate contexts, as disability can be outlined in day-to-day life under a number of discourses such as gender and power. In light of this, the method of unstructured interviews proved useful when collecting the stories and perceptions of three male participants and three male participants. All participants varied in terms of the level of care they provided or required. Emerging arguments or binaries were analysed through discourse analysis. The research found that there were three main issues regarding disability and care: Formal and informal care, the possession or loss of control, and resulting outlooks towards disability. These main issues contained further issues regarding discourses around gender, age and power. Limitations of the study included mainly organisational issues, and further research could be developed in greater detail with the use of Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough & Wodak, 1997).

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