Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
The Social Construction of Intellectual Disability

The Social Construction of Intellectual Disability


  • Author: Mark Rapley, Murdoch University, Western Australia
  • Date Published: June 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521005296

£ 38.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Intellectual disability is usually thought of as a form of internal, individual affliction, little different from diabetes, paralysis or chronic illness. This study, the first book-length application of discursive psychology to intellectual disability, shows that what we usually understand as being an individual problem is actually an interactional, or social, product. Through a range of case studies, which draw upon ethnomethodological and conversation analytic scholarship, the book shows how persons categorized as 'intellectually disabled' are produced, as such, in and through their moment-by-moment interaction with care staff and other professionals. Mark Rapley extends and reformulates current work in disability studies and offers a reconceptualisation of intellectual disability as both a professionally ascribed diagnostic category and an accomplished - and contested - social identity. Importantly, the book is grounded in data drawn from naturally-occurring, rather than professionally orchestrated, social interaction.

    • First full-length application of discursive psychology to the study of intellectual disability
    • Detailed transcripts of actual interaction between professionals and people categorized as 'intellectually disabled'
    • Challenges many of the assumptions of disability studies
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The book presents a timely challenge to our profession. Mark Rapley's writing just gets better: make sure you get the chance to learn from him.' Clinical Psychology

    '… this is an excellent book. It is a timely reminder in an intellectual domain becoming increasingly deadlocked by polarising debate of the need for detailed empirical analysis.' Disability & Society

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521005296
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    A note on the cover
    A note on transcription notation
    1. A discursive psychological approach
    2. Intellectual disability as diagnostic and social category
    3. The interactional production of 'dispositional' characteristics: or why saying 'yes' to one's interrogators may be a smart strategy
    4. Matters of identity
    5. Talk to dogs, infants and...
    6. A deviant case (co-written with Alec McHoul)
    7. Some tentative conclusions

  • Author

    Mark Rapley, Murdoch University, Western Australia
    Mark Rapley is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Murdoch University. His work applies discursive psychology to questions of power, in particular the interactional and rhetorical production of persons with intellectual disabilities, the 'mentally ill' and Aboriginal Australians. His most recent books are Quality of Life Research: A Critical Introduction (2003) and, with Susan Hansen and Alex McHoul, Beyond Help: A Consumer's Guide to Psychology (2003).

Related Books

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.