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Normalisering, autenticitet och reflexivitet: om iscensättande av det vanliga livet i handikappomsorg
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4540-5373
2007 (Swedish)In: Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, ISSN 1104-1420, Vol. 14, no 4, 266-279 p.Article 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, 266-279 p.
Keyword [en]
normalisation, reflexivity, disability, theatre, intellectual disability
Keyword [sv]
normalisering, utvecklingsstörning, funktionshinder, teater
National Category
Social Work Social Work Sociology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-8266OAI: diva2:147937
Available from: 2008-01-16 Created: 2008-01-16 Last updated: 2014-10-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mellan konst och terapi: Om teater för personer med utvecklingsstörning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mellan konst och terapi: Om teater för personer med utvecklingsstörning
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Between art and therapy : theatre for people with intellectual
Abstract [en]

In this dissertation, a qualitative research project has been conducted focusing on two theatres for persons with intellectual disabilities. The aim of the dissertation was to analyze the ideological tension between artistic practises and the institutional setting in which they are arranged. The aim of the thesis was answered through the following questions:

What happens when a new and innovative logic is introduced on a well established organisational field?

How do Rebellerna and Ållateatern translate and manage the institutional setting under which they are working?

How do Rebellerna and Ållateatern relate to the surrounding environment?

The analysis is based on a qualitative research project conducted over a period of two years on Ållateatern and six mounts on Rebellerna. Theoretically, the analysis has been inspired by disability theory and neo-institutional theory. In the dissertation I argue that Rebellerna and Ållateatern, in their formal structure, reflect two different logics, which have influenced their relationship with the institutional environment as well as with the actors working at the theatres. These logics have been interpreted as a consequence of the need for human service organizations to obtain legitimacy from the institutional environment. However, on an individual level the tension between an artistic logic and a therapeutic logic has had a social meaning for the actors working at Rebellerna and Ållateatern. It has generated a selfunderstanding which besides the role of a client to the welfare state also includes the role of an actor. These experiences have generated a stronger belief in their own capabilities and a sense of pride. It has also challenged established social meanings on intellectual disabilities. However, one conclusion in the thesis is that both Ållateatern and Rebellerna have had an impact in influence the organisational field of daily activities. Another conclusion is that the tension between therapy and art on an individual level represents an important building block to generate a formation of identity and sub-cultural belonging.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, Institutionen för socialt arbete, 2007. 78 p.
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 56
intellectual disabilities, theatre, organisational fields, institutional logics, art/therapy, Socialt arbete
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1083 (URN)978-91-7264-292-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-05-04, Norra beteendevetarhuset, NBVH1031, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00
Available from: 2007-04-13 Created: 2007-04-13 Last updated: 2014-10-07Bibliographically approved

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