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The choice agenda and the geography of housing for people with intellectual disabilities

The notion of choice is emerging as fundamental to new approaches to the provision of housing for people with intellectual disabilities. Choice is raised as a central theme in debates about state-funding distribution practices, allocation priorities, location, design and model of new housing developments and the overall aims of disability policy. For its advocates, this ‘choice agenda’ counters paternalistic traditions within the welfare state by offering individuals with disability more choice of where, how and with whom they live, respected as self-determining individuals in society. For its critics, the choice agenda is a neoliberal policy strategy to decrease government funding and responsibility for the provision of welfare services. In between, choice could be dismissed as empty rhetoric. My thesis examines these interpretations, aiming to offer a more coherent and critical understanding of choice as a basis for theory, policy and practice in housing for people with intellectual disabilities. / Three main themes are considered, giving rise to a more critical conceptualization of choice. First, debates about civil-rights and redistribution are revisited and considered as sources from which competing discourses of choice emerge. Second, the individuality implied by choice is considered in light of the ‘community-care’ ethos. Third, an institutional perspective is applied to examine the role of ‘choice’ as a logic of practice within state administration. I examine these themes with a case study - housing for people with intellectual disabilities in the State of Victoria. Interviews were conducted with over fifty people, both users and providers of services in various positions and locations. Analysis explores the implications of the choice agenda on practices and decisions concerning the location and design of new housing developments, and on allocation of placements. The choice agenda has affected these practices in a way that reshapes the geography of housing for people with intellectual disabilities in Victoria.
Date January 2009
CreatorsVizel, Ilan
Source SetsAustraliasian Digital Theses Program
Detected LanguageEnglish
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