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When resistance meets law and policy: disabled people and the independent living counter-narrative in Wales

Tarrant, Alison 2019. When resistance meets law and policy: disabled people and the independent living counter-narrative in Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis studies independent living as a counter-narrative of identity reconstruction devised by the disabled people’s movement to resist dominant social narratives of otherness, deficit, dependency and ‘care’. In particular it examines what happens to that counter-narrative when disabled activists have attempted to insert it into policy and law. It considers whether the counter-narrative can remain intact in this context and the implications – for disabled people and the counter-narrative itself – of the model that is constructed in the policy and legislative context. The policy field selected for the study is adult social care in Wales, where there are emergent governance institutions and an expectation of third sector involvement in policy development. Using texts from the disabled people’s movement as data, the study identifies how independent living functions as a counter-narrative and whether there are distinctions between the model constructed by the disabled people’s movement in the UK as a whole, and by the movement in Wales. Core fragments of the counter-narrative are identified and traced through into Welsh Government policy and legal texts. An analytical framework of narrative relationships of ‘adjacency’ and ‘collision’ is developed to examine these fragments and establish their use in the policy and legislative contexts. The study finds that while the attempted incorporation of independent living into Welsh adult social care policy has been partially successful, it has not yet succeeded in overturning master narratives that enable and perpetuate the structural and internalised oppression of disabled people. Both colliding and adjacent ideas were intentionally and unintentionally neutralised in policy and legislation, allowing master narratives to thrive. This was a result of multiple factors, including the collision at a fundamental level of certain core fragments of independent living and the principles of Welsh Government public sector policy, misunderstandings, the loss of the element of resistance and the financial context of austerity, which is undermining not only the ability of the Welsh Government to respond to grassroots demands, but the Welsh Government’s own public sector values. However, the study finds that if these problems can be tackled, there is scope for independent living to feature effectively in Welsh policy and for distinct approaches to it to be developed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Uncontrolled Keywords: disability, independent living, policy, adult social care, Wales, counter-narrative, disabled people's movement
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 December 2019
Date of Acceptance: 12 December 2019
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2021 12:52

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