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Title: Intellectual disability and the right to a sexual life : a continuation of the autonomy/paternalism debate
Author: Foley, Simon James
ISNI:       0000 0004 5995 0246
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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As a population typically characterised by reference to their 'broken bodies' or 'damaged minds', western societies continue to systematically devalue and exclude disabled people from the good things in life. Influenced by social model thinking, there now exists an extensive literature on societal discrimination against people with disabilities when it comes to accessing material goods such as employment. education and housing. However, instead of adding to this burgeoning treasure chest of scholarly insights, this thesis changes tack in both subject matter and theoretical affinities, to examine a different, all too often ignored, material deprivation blighting the everyday lives of disabled people. Namely the fact that many disabled people are unwillingly leading celibate lives. Society's failure to grant recognition to the sexual needs of disabled people is nowhere more evident when it comes to the needs of intellectually disabled adults. In contemporary western society, to be intellectually disabled is to be infantilised and to be infantilised is to be desexualised. Amongst all the populations subsumed under the umbrella term of intellectual disability, one of the most common to be ascribed the 'Peter Pan' subject position by third parties are adults with Down syndrome. The prevalence of this 'Peter Pan' meme has bestowed adults with Down syndrome with an essentialist identity which positions them as disembodied, desexualised legal subjects. To highlight the most salient conceptual issues that constitute the dangerous discourse surrounding the debate on the rights of intellectually disabled adults to lead a non-celibate life, this thesis focuses specifically on barriers inhibiting adults with Down syndrome living in the parental home from expressing their sexuality via the medium of a sexual relationship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available