Living with risk: exploring the concept of risk with adults with learning difficulties

Smith, Sam J. (2010) Living with risk: exploring the concept of risk with adults with learning difficulties. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study explored the perception of risk of adults with learning difficulties who had been assigned reputations for challenging services. Adopting a standpoint epistemology the research sought to give voice to the alienated knowledge of adults with learning difficulties who had experienced exclusion from the community on the basis of the perceived risks they posed to themselves or others.

The concept of risk was used as a lens through which to uncover the situated knowledge of research participants and to consider the extent to which this knowledge was reflected in risk and disability theory and practice.

The research was informed by a broad range of theoretical approaches to risk ranging from the technico-scientific tradition exemplified by the psychological school and socio cultural perspectives drawn from the disciplines of anthropology, philosophy and sociology. Influences were also drawn from the range of academic disciplines that inform disability theory.

The research was undertaken within a social constructionist framework and adopted a participatory methodological approach. Data collection and analysis spanned a two year period and processes of constant comparative analysis (Charmaz 2006) were applied to explore underlying concepts and relationships.
The study evolved over its duration and the reflexive processes that informed the emergent methodology are incorporated in the findings. Consideration was given to the ethical dilemmas associated with adopting the dual roles of a practitioner and researcher.

Through the core themes of voice, harm and relationships the views of research participants challenge the existing hegemony and offer an alternative perspective on the concept of risk. Participants provided an alternate rationale for behaviour as a form of communication rooted in a context of oppression and resistance. Reframing behaviour as actions of resilience and resistance offers valuable insights that should inform the development of risk and disability theory and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Learning difficulties, risk, challenging behaviour, participatory research, reflexive research, ethics, grounded theory, disability theory, voice, standpoint epistemology
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Mann, Dr. Sarah and McCulloch, Dr. Mary
Date of Award: 2010
Depositing User: Samantha J Smith
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-1928
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:48

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