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Normalisering, autenticitet och reflexivitet: om iscensättande av det vanliga livet i handikappomsorg
Umeå universitet, Institutionen för socialt arbete.
Umeå universitet, Institutionen för socialt arbete.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4540-5373
2007 (Swedish)In: Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, ISSN 1104-1420, Vol. 14, no 4, p. 266-279Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [sv]

This article attempts to elaborate on the scholarly discourse about normalisation in disability care. More specifically, the problem of imitation is addressed. The aim is to cast light on the tension between artificially created, “authentic” reality in activities that try to achieve nor-malisation for people with disability. The discussion is carried out by using examples from theatre for people with mental disability and home care for people with long-term mental ill-ness.

Disability care in Swedish municipalities is described in terms of institutional logic. The logic of care is characterised by three sets of elements: regulative elements are made up of legislation, policy guidelines and organisational framework; normative elements like integra-tion and participation are grounded in national disability policy; cognitive elements are taken-for-granted values held by actors on the disability field, e.g. the value of work, not staying up all night, etc.

When professionals undertake normalising activities, the logic of care is welded with a logic of everyday life. The underlying assumption appears to be that users benefit from lead-ing a life as similar to what is considered as normal as possible. The article probes deeper into two such logics, the logic of theatre and the logic of home. The logic of theatre stresses the artistic and creative elements of the work with disabled clients, which creates the opportunity to achieve alternative identities for users. The logic of home involves values such as a sense of control, the home as conveyor of identity, and providing a setting for important relations.

Both theatre and home care involve institutional ambiguities. When welfare institutions attempt to imitate authentic everyday life, the assumption is that this would bring about posi-tive effects for clients. However, it is difficult to create this kind of authenticity within the therapeutic context of disability care – clients and outsiders are likely to see through the artifi-cial design of the situation. Occasionally, though, magic moments may occur when clients and staff engage in genuine activities that transcend the therapeutic purpose.

However, given Giddens’ conception of late modernity, the problem of imitation may ap-pear less problematic. The design of normal-appearing environments in disability care seems to be similar to and no-less artificial than what is the case with normal people, in an age where individuals increasingly tend to reflexively create their identities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Förbundet för forskning i socialt arbete , 2007. Vol. 14, no 4, p. 266-279
Keywords [en]
normalisation, reflexivity, disability, theatre, intellectual disability
Keywords [sv]
normalisering, utvecklingsstörning, funktionshinder, teater
National Category
Sociology Social Work
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-348155OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-348155DiVA, id: diva2:1196807
Available from: 2018-04-11 Created: 2018-04-11 Last updated: 2018-04-11Bibliographically approved

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Sjöström, Stefan

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