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Title: Confessions of a community psychologist : the tale of a group of men challenging the perceptions of learning difficulties and health promotion
Author: Richards, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 6059
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis draws on ideas from disability studies (Oliver, 1990) and critical community psychology (Kagan et al, 2011a) as well as ethnography (Anderson, 1989), critical theory (Parker, 2007) and posthuman philosophy (Braidotti, 2013), to suggest a new understanding between critical community psychology and disability studies. However, I have argued that research is limited in making the inter-connection between disability studies and critical community psychology, and also that there is limited research which considers men labelled with learning difficulties and health promotion. Whilst literature exists on men’s health (see Branney, 2012), health promotion (see World Report on Disability, 2011) and learning difficulties (see Goodley, 2004), these do not include a detailed discussion of the experiences of men, labelled with learning difficulties, men’s health and health promotion, as an entity drawing on a critical community psychology and disability studies approach. This research is of current policy relevance with its exploration of the experiences of a group of men labelled with learning difficulties people, in times of austerity during the current Conservative-led Coalition government (Phillimore et al, 2010). My research aimed to provide a rich and contextualised account from the perspective of men labelled with learning difficulties in the development of forty-five workshops throughout 2011. Using qualitative, autoethnographic and participatory approaches (which I adopted and applied in this research), I uncovered the ways in which these men demonstrated understanding for health promotion using visual methods such as art, drama, poetry, sculpture and photography. This contrasts with other research that have explored these concepts quantitatively (see Geary et al, 2012; Peng and Fuchs, 2014) or used qualitative methods that are mainly interview based (see Heslop et al, 2013). The findings from the various sources of data analysed suggest four overarching themes. First, the need to listen more to people labelled with learning difficulties who have knowledge and experience to share about health promotion. Second, there are different levels of participation, with decision-making being complex and likely to be out of the hands of marginalised groups, but a ‘community of practice’ (Lave and Wenger, 1992) can potentially lead to a more bottom up approach to participation and collective action. Third, a posthuman perspective can build on multiple interdisciplinarities and employ aspects of the social model of disability in the UK, from the multiple perspectives of those who are labelled in this way. Finally, the relationship between disability studies and critical community psychology can provide an interdisciplinary and practical understanding of the causes of oppression, which can be a guide to take action or as a way of interrogating the problem space (Goodley and Lawthom, 2005a).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available