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Using critical discursive psychology to examine carer discourses about facilitating independence for people with learning disabilities in UK services

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

During my undergraduate studies, I became interested in what appeared to be a conflict of interest in the institutional obligations of paid carers who support people with learning disabilities. Carers are officially and institutionally responsible for the well-being and safety of service-users under their care. However, a new drive within policy to facilitate free choices and control for people with learning disabilities sometimes seemed to undermine carers other institutional concerns. I undertook a PhD, where I used several discursive approaches to examine discourses about empowering people with learning disabilities. My decision to use discursive approaches was threefold: 1). I could examine how carer dilemmas and conflicts played out in their arguments about care delivery; 2). These methods gave me a unique approach to examining identities, which was particularly useful in this context where learning disabilities may be seen as a historical and cultural construct that is so powerful, it has had an enormous impact on the life histories of people so labeled and; 3). I could examine the action orientation of speaker arguments and the broader implications this had for empowering people with learning disabilities.

This particular case discusses one study from my PhD which used critical discursive psychology to examine staff arguments about facilitating the independence, choices and control of people with learning disabilities. The case explains why this particular discursive approach was chosen for this study and candidly outlines the practicalities of conducting research like this.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Research Methods Cases
PublisherSAGE Publications Inc.
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2017

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