Disability, values and quality : a case study in Derbyshire
Cultural representations of disability reveal a cultural value system which characterises the disadvantage experienced by disabled people in terms of personal tragedy, the impaired body and otherness. The reproduction of these disabling values in the dominant discourses of British policy making have resulted in a mode of welfare production based on 'care', individualism and segregation. More recently, implementation of the 1990 NHS and Community Care Act has tended to consolidate rather than challenge this policy tradition. By contrast, the emergence of a strong disabled peoples' movement offers significant forms of resistance to dominant policy discourses through the development of social models of disability. In particular, Centres for Independent/Integrated Living have promoted an alternative agenda for enabling community support systems based on the values of participation, social integration and equality. Disabled people's organisations in Derbyshire were at the forefront of these developments in Britain. Their attempts to implement integrated living solutions within the policy framework of community care demonstrate significant conflicts over the definition of quality in service processes and outcomes. The study employs co-participatory methods to involve local service users and disabled people's organisations in exploring these issues within an emancipatory research paradigm. The data from this research highlights specific barriers to policy change and suggests that effective self-organisation within a cohesive social movement is a necessary pre-requisite for the liberation of disabled people. Ultimately, the agenda for change promoted by the disabled peoples' movement challenges not only attitudes and values but also the social relations of production and reproduction within a capitalist economy.