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Questions of Competence

Questions of Competence
Culture, Classification and Intellectual Disability

Richard Jenkins, Michael V. Angrosino, Patrick J. Devlieger, Tim Booth, Wendy Booth, Charlotte Aull Davies, Sylvia van Maastricht, Susan Reynolds Whyte, Mark Nuttall, Nancy Lundgren
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  • Date Published: April 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521626620


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About the Authors
  • Intellectual disability - ranging from what is more commonly described as 'mental retardation' to 'learning difficulties' - is a socially constructed phenomenon that varies in important respects cross-culturally. This collection of original essays examines the classification of people as competent and incompetent in the United States, England, Wales, Greece, Greenland, Uganda, and Belize. The contributors, anthropologists and sociologists, argue that it is time for a new understanding of intellectual disability. In contrast to medical and psychological models, a social model of intellectual disability emphasises the cultural and individual variability of incompetence, the intimate relationship between cultural categories of competence and incompetence, and the role of social interaction and networks in its social construction. This book Is an original contribution to ongoing theoretical and policy debates about disability.

    • The first book of its kind to offer cross-cultural detailed case studies of intellectual disability
    • Presents a novel theoretical model of the social construction of intellectual disability
    • Contextualises intellectual disability within broader social and cultural frameworks
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521626620
    • length: 262 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Culture, classification and (in)competence Richard Jenkins
    2. Mental disability in the United States: an interactionist perspective Michael V. Angrosino
    3. (In)competence in America in comparative perspective Patrick J. Devlieger
    4. Risk, resilience and competence: parents with learning difficulties and their children Tim Booth and Wendy Booth
    5. Constructing other selves: (in)competence and the category of learning difficulties Charlotte Aull Davies
    6. Work, opportunity and culture: (in)competence in Greece and Wales Sylvia van Maastricht
    7. Slow cookers and madmen: competence of heart and head in rural Uganda Susan Reynolds Whyte
    8. States and categories: indigenous models of personhood in northwest Greenland Mark Nuttall
    9. Learning to become (in)competent: children in Belize speak out Nancy Lundgren
    10. Towards a social model of (in)competence Richard Jenkins.

  • Editor

    Richard Jenkins, University of Sheffield


    Richard Jenkins, Michael V. Angrosino, Patrick J. Devlieger, Tim Booth, Wendy Booth, Charlotte Aull Davies, Sylvia van Maastricht, Susan Reynolds Whyte, Mark Nuttall, Nancy Lundgren

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