London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Constructing an identity of able-bodiedness: discourses of disability by primary school children

Author(s) Stamou, A. G. et al  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2008  
Editor A. Ross & P. Cunningham, Reflecting on Identities: Research, Practice and Innovation  
Age group -  
This paper examines how non-disabled primary school children conceptualize those with disabilities from a Critical Discourse Analysis perspective. This research involves an exploration of children’s perceptions about this social group, and also the way children shape an identity of able-bodiedness (‘Us’) in relation to an identity of disability (‘Them’). For the purposes of the study, we asked nine year old children in a Greek primary school to produce drawing and a text about people with disabilities, without previously discussing the topic with them. This presentation focuses on the analysis of linguistic messages. The analysis shows that children mainly drew upon a traditional discourse of disability (as individual deficit) rather than upon a progressive one (as a problem of social exclusion).

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