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Issues » 2012/5 - Special English Issue 2012 »

Jitka Nelb Sinecká

This is better than a nursing home. Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Constructing and constraining agency of people labelled with developmental disabilities in a supported living scheme


This article offers the story of a person labelled with developmental disabilities and of his caregivers. Scott is a 43-year old man who lives in a group home with four other housemates and permanent staff support and supervision. The study describes how Scott examines his agency, including matters of choice, control, independence and interdependence, surrounded by social structures. The article demonstrates how his agency is constructed and constrained in daily life and interactions with his family members, housemates, administrators, staff members, or other people important to him. The analysis drives on various understandings of agency and social structures and implies Bourdieu’s and Giddens’ theory of structuration. It also finds parallels to Goffman and his depiction of total institutions more than 50 years ago.


disability, institutions, communism, agency

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