Narrating resistance: a B.C. mother's story of disability rights activism

Date created: 
2008
Keywords: 
Narrative inquiry (Research method)
Mothers of children with disabilities – Canada – Political activity
Women political activists – British Columbia
Children with mental disabilities – Deinstitutionalization – Canada
Disability studies
Life story
Narrative ethnography
Activist mothers
Intellectual disabilities
Community living
Resistance
Motherhood
Family studies
Abstract: 

Though mothers have engaged in social activism to expand the citizenship rights of people with intellectual disabilities for the last 50 years, research in disability studies has been slow to examine what can be learned from their experience. Using a life story approach, this thesis explores how one activist mother, Jo Dickey, describes raising a son with intellectual disabilities and advocating for the social inclusion of people with disabilities and their families between 1955 and the present. Informed by ethnographic theories of performativity and intersubjectivity, I show how Jo performs resistance by recounting how she contested ideologies and systemic practices through everyday acts and collective action in the past, and by simultaneously speaking to discourses and audiences in the present. Her storytelling challenges the limits imposed on people deemed to have intellectual disabilities, foregrounds her negotiations of disability and gender politics, and creates discursive space for an activist mother’s perspective.

Description: 
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Language: 
English
Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
Copyright remains with the author
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
D
Department: 
Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)
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