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Disability and Discourse: Analysing Inclusive Conversation with People with Intellectual Disabilities

ISBN: 978-0-470-68266-1
272 pages
February 2011
Disability and Discourse: Analysing Inclusive Conversation with People with Intellectual Disabilities (0470682663) cover image


Disability and Discourse applies and explains Conversation Analysis (CA), an established methodology for studying communication, to explore what happens during the everyday encounters of people with intellectual disabilities and the other people with whom they interact.
  • Explores conversations and encounters from the lives of people with intellectual disabilities
  • Introduces the established methodology of Conversation Analysis, making it accessible and useful to a wide range of students, researchers and practitioners
  • Adopts a discursive approach which looks at how people with intellectual disabilities use talk in real-life situations, while showing how such talk can be supported and developed
  • Follows people into the meetings and discussions that take place in self-advocacy and research contexts
  • Offers insights into how people with learning disabilities can have a voice in their own affairs, in policy-making, and in research
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Table of Contents

About the Author.



1 Starting Points.

2 Some Building Blocks for Analysis.

Part 1 Individual Voices.

3 Challenging Disempowering Patterns of Talk.

4 Supporting Someone to be Competent.

5 Opening up Conversation.

6 Equalising Talk and Friendliness.

7 Doing Autonomy: 'It's entirely up to you'.

8 Public Encounters.

Part 2 Collective Voice.

9 Self-Advocacy Talk: The personal to the political.

10 Supporting People to Speak up in Group Situations.

11 Being Interviewers with the Label of 'Intellectual Disability'.

12 Behind the Scenes in Inclusive Research: 'We are the artists of our lives'.

13 Talk about Labelling and Identity.

14 Reflections on Doing Analysis.

15 Reflections on Change.

Appendix Transcription Conventions.



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Author Information

Val Williams is a Senior Research Fellow at the Norah Fry Research Centre, University of Bristol, UK – a leading centre for research into services for people with intellectual disabilities based on a social model of disability. Her work concerns the barriers faced by adults with learning disabilities, with particular emphasis on inclusive research and analysis of naturally-occurring communication.
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“This thought-provoking text is aimed at practitioners, those who engage in everyday conversation with individuals with intellectual disabilities and researchers who employ conversation analysis (CA).  This book reminds us that these individuals and their support workers can benefit from engaging in more mindful and reflective practice with regard to everyday discourse.”  (British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 7 August 2013)


‘An exciting and innovatory book, rooted in an informed awareness and concern for the interests and rights of the subjects of study, through a focused analysis of how conversation and participation is realised and maintained in everyday contexts. Carefully conceived, and fundamentally important.’
Len Barton, Emeritus Professor of Inclusive Education, University of London, UK

‘The first book-length account of working with people with intellectual disabilities, at the fine grain of interactional detail. The distinguishing feature is the reliance not on second-hand data or observational anecdote, but on rigorous analysis of what actually happens. This ought to have immediate appeal to practitioners.’
Charles Antaki, Professor of Language and Social Psychology, Loughborough University, UK

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Disability and Discourse: Analysing Inclusive Conversation with People with Intellectual Disabilities (US $113.95)

-and- Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation (US $55.00)

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