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Lived identity and citizenship Anders Gustavsson Professor at the Department of Education, Stockholm University.

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Presentation on theme: "Lived identity and citizenship Anders Gustavsson Professor at the Department of Education, Stockholm University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lived identity and citizenship Anders Gustavsson Professor at the Department of Education, Stockholm University

2 From a citizenship discourse to an identity discourse 1970s-1980s Disabled people have difficulties in everyday functioning and they are therefore entitled to special support and services. 1990s- Disabled people are excluded through stigmatization and ’othering’: We (non- disabled people) and They (disabled people).

3 Two Foci of Identity The personal identity, i.e. the subjective experience of who I am. The social identity, i.e. experiences of myself as an object of people’s perspectives.

4 Current policy, legislation and how rights are fulfilled The public identity The subjectiveThe objective experience ofexperience citizenshipof citizenship Everyday interaction with significant others

5 What is a citizen? The individual’s relation to the state: Rights (Marshall) Obligations (Stone)

6 The distributive dilemma Stone (1984) The work system: people working for their own living The needs system: youth, old age, widowhood, sickness, disability (means special needs)

7 Two ways of managing the distributive dilemma The traditional distinction between first and second class citizenships You have to qualify to be recognized as a full citizen Long-term social benefits means loosing the right to vote, etc The welfare state categorical exemption A special citizenship, in the sense stronger, but also…

8 … a threat to the public identity As the categorical exemption is often based on a medical or psychological assessment of dysfunction or weakness As the categorical exemption demands a ‘low-enough’ standard of living … meaning second class public identity

9 A Swedish study of disabled people’s influence on public services (Söder et al 1990:1), illustrating different types of public identity

10 The influential consumers Taken for granted rights and often satisfaction with the services they have got. … sometime dissatisfied trying to influence successsatisfaction A strong, positive, public identity based on a strong faith in special rights to people with special needs

11 The rebel Taken for granted rights but … often dissatisfactiontrying to influence dissatisfied with the resultcontinued fight An ambivalent public identity, founded both on a strong faith in rights to service and on a threat to the specific type of identity maintained by the rebels

12 The powerless Taken for granted rights but … often dissatisfactiontrying to influence no successtrying to influence A public identity with some strength but exposed to a certain threat

13 The resigned I Little faith in one’s own right Dissatisfactiontrying to influenceno success resignation because of poor support Spoiled public identity

14 The resigned II Little faith in one’s own right Dissatisfactiontrying to influenceno success resignation because of one’s own shortcomings Spoiled public identity

15 The silent consumer The seem to take their rights for granted and seem satisfied with the services they have got Probably a public identity based on a strong faith in special rights to people with special needs

16 Three types of threats to the citizenship/ public identity Second class citizenship is a weakened public identity The categorical exemption is often understood as a second class public identity The basic definition of citizenship in terms of cognitive competence and rationality weakens the public identity of intellectually disabled people

17 Déconstruire le Handicap (Deconstruct the Handicap) Roland DEMONET & Louis MOREAU de BELLAING Published by the CTNERHI, Paris Collection Etudes et Recherches

18 The citizenship as an obligation to contribute to the common good  Society is maintained through mutual obligations of the citizens to contribute to a common good  Work makes the human being a citizen.  ‘The productive work in the common interest is the result of the hability, skill and intelligence by which it is carried out’. Adam Smith

19 Citizenship and Reason Citizenship is defined in terms of : Equality Brotherhood Freedom But some citizens are more Equal Brothers/sisters Free than others!

20 Unreason Reason Non-- Abnormal citizen- Dependent - Incapable of social contract - Normal - Autonomous Citizen- Capable of social contract The classical definitions of citizenship/public identity

21 The citizenship as a social pact  Human beings are in perpetual fight with each other  In order to protect themselves they enter into social pacts  ‘The power of these pacts is unknown to children and idiots.’ Thomas Hobbes

22 The citizenship as the basis for the freedom of the individual human being  Human beings have the natural right to freedom and property.  These rights are maintained through mutual consent among citizens.  Only reasonable and rational human beings can come to mutual consent.  In describing the necessary conditions for citizenship, Locke outlines a distinction between imbecility and madness. Johan Locke

23 The citizenship as a social contract between equal people  It is natural for equal human beings to enter into social contracts that constitute the basis for civil society and its laws.  However, civil society and law must be founded on reason and rationality.  ‘Law can not be grounded on madness (unreason)!’. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

24 Conclusion Is citizenship unachievable for intellectually disable people? No, but we seem to need a new concept of citizenship, less founded on work and cognitive competence!!


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