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Towards a sociological critique of the normalisation principle

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An extensive critique, Chappell's central argument is normalisation is a professional- centred theory concerning itself largely with quality in services, therefore working through existing structures rather than challenging them. Following from and adding to this, she argues that the theory does not problematise the relationship between professional and service user (one of power and conflicting interests). Thirdly she argues that because the theory is situated firmly in the world of ideas it fails to take into account material constraints imposed upon people with intellectual disabilities. Lastly, it is argued that normalisation takes as given that 'disability' is located in the physical or intellectual impairments an individual may possess, rather than the notion of 'disability' itself being socially constructed. The most interesting part of the article is Chappell's belief that 'disability' itself has not been extensively theorised. Because of this the normalisation principle has remained the dominant theory despite its weaknesses. Keyword: Theory

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Chappell, Anne Louise
Disability, Handicap and Society, Volume 7 Number 1
Publication Date
1 January 1992

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