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Title: What does learning disability mean in the 'real world'? : re-evaluating conceptions and definitions of learning disability
Author: Cluley, Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5988 9756
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2016
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What does learning disability mean in the ‘real world’? is a qualitative sociological thesis that explores the discursive resources used by different groups of people in relation to the term learning disability. Learning disability is a term that can mean different things to different people. It is also a term that can be seen from a variety of theoretical standpoints. Indeed, the term learning disability exists within a semantic tangle of definitions, concepts, colloquialisms, politics and attitudes that is fraught with historical, social and political tensions. While this is a feature of many terms, how learning disability is understood is of direct consequence to people with learning disabilities and the lives they live. This thesis aims to address this confusion and to work towards a re-evaluation of concepts and definitions of learning disability. The empirical work undertaken for this thesis is based on two philosophical positioning statements that emanated from the literature review: that learning disability is both an embodied reality and a social construct; and that people’s views, perceptions, and understandings are meaningful reflections of social reality. In order to obtain the perceptions of people experiencing the ‘real world’ of learning disability, a combination of focus groups with people without learning disabilities and photovoice sessions with people with learning disabilities were used. The resultant findings have been analysed using a combination of discourse analysis and interpretive engagement. From this data, it is concluded that dominant models of disability, found in current learning disability policy and research as well as in the research participants’ talk, result in the (mis)representation of learning disability. In order to redress this issue, it is argued that the body, including the brain as a bodily organ, must be reoriented to a position of influence within understandings of learning disability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LC Special aspects of education