Kandidatspeciale: Problematiserede identiteters blomstring: Et kvalitativt studie af unge voksne med Cerebral pareses identitetsarbejde i forhold til at realisere menneskelige goder og et godt og vellevet liv

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by a congenital brain injury and is the most common childhood disability. Throughout history, there have been doubts about the potential of people with disabilities living a good life, as people with disabilities have been considered cursed, dangerous, defective and a burden to society. This thesis examines people with CPs orientation towards achieving a good life which is also termed ‘human flourishing’, and contextual limitations in accomplishing this, drawing on Christian Smith. It examines how interviewees initiate different identity strategies and processes in relation to realizing certain identities and thereby certain human goods, drawing on Douglas Lepisto. Derek Layder’s critique of critical realism is the project’s ontological starting point, which allows for an understanding of social life as ontologically differentiated. Abductive grounded theory is used to encode the qualitative interview data, allowing for a systematic
examination of prominent elements across interview. The empirical data consists of 12 qualitative in-depth interview with young adults with CP
with varying functional capabilities. The study finds that people with CP are oriented towards and limited in realizing the basic goods concerning 1) physical survival, health, and bodily wellbeing, 2) exercising purposive agency, 3) coherent and affirmative identity, 4) social affiliation. The interviewees initiate identity work in plural ways to achieve an identity that is productive in supporting human goods and thereby flourishing. This involves several identity strategies that entail both material social, verbal, and emotional elements. The study localises two meta strategies, that include 1) submitting to a bodily norm and the stigma of the outside world and 2) isolating/distancing oneself from the outside world’s negative interpretation of disability and creating a positive and empowered disability identity. The identity strategies the interviewees initiate depend on the type of disability model they subscribe to and understand themselves and their identity through. This thesis argues that people and communities can be a central prerequisite for the individual’s ability to act in social situations. The more positive / uplifting contact there is between individuals with CP and other people, the more actionable and confident the individual becomes in relation to establishing a preferred identity and live a good life. Furthermore, this thesis argues that a solution to the problem of the disabled identity in terms of flourishing consists of communicative disability model and a cultural de-problematization of the disabled identity. This would establish a more interdependent and equal relationship between people with
disabilities and other population groups and contribute to people with disabilities reaching better conditions in terms of realizing prosperity. To support this, structural changes is necessary such as e.g., making public spaces accessible, increasing the representation and visibility of people with functional variations.
Original languageDanish
Number of pages110
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

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