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The Sociology of Acceptance Revisited: "There Must Have Been Something Because I Grieve So!"

  • Høgskulen på Vestlandet - Western Norway University of Applied Sciences


Caring for a person may result in emotions for that person. When Helen died, her staff experienced deep sorrow. The authors interviewed the staff, asking to what extent R. Bogdan and S. J. Taylor's (1987) sociology of acceptance could help them understand how accepting ties are made and maintained. Because R. Bogdan and S. J. Taylor mainly looked at relationships within foster families and friendships, the authors broaden the perspectives by examining a case where the relationship was between a resident and her staff in the now-typical Norwegian community-living setting for people with intellectual disabilities. After interviewing staff about how the resident interacted with these other, "typical" people, the authors maintain that acceptance is not only the doings of those without the intellectual disability. The authors acknowledge that a full understanding of accepting relationships requires the perspectives of both parties.
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... Several research reports describe that by the involvement and intense relation of caregivers with their client, caregivers are able to detect minimal changes in physical condition and behavior, but also may lose the capacity to be still objective about the caring situation [6,10,11]. ...
... nr. 10. ...
... For example, Bogdan & Taylor (1989) suggested a belief in essential humanness of people with severe intellectual disabilities was characteristic of 'accepting relationships' and proposed four dimensions of humanness used by people without intellectual disability to define people with severe intellectual disability as being 'like us': attributing thinking, seeing individuality, viewing as reciprocating and defining a social place to occupy. When they wrote in 1989, Bogdan and Taylor argued this type of accepting relationship was rare, whereas 30 years later, Folkestad & Folkestad (2008) saw it 'no longer surprising that people with intellectual disabilities are seen as human beings (p. 434)'. ...
BackgroundA dimension of the culture in group homes is staff regard for residents. In underperforming group homes, staff regard residents as being not ‘like us’ (Bigby, Knox, Beadle-Brown, Clement & Mansell, 2012). We hypothesized the opposite pole of this dimension, in higher performing group homes, would be that staff regard residents positively.Method Three in-depth qualitative case studies were conducted in higher performing group homes using participant observation, interviews and document review.ResultsConsistent pattern of staff practices and talk, as well as artefacts, demonstrated staff had a positive regard for residents, who were seen as being ‘like us’. Explicit and continuing attention was given to sustaining positive regard for residents in everyday staff practices and to turning abstract values into concrete realities.Conclusions This positive cultural norm was established, operationalized and embedded through structures, such as a formal policy about language, and processes such as peer monitoring and practice leadership.
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In this article, we argue that while an appreciation of disability's cultural context is fundamental, we should be careful not to replace one essentialist version of disability with a new one. We look at the relational patterns that emerge from the specific circumstances of significant intellectual disability. This article follows Clifford Geertz’ well‐known account of the multiple layers of cultural context and interpretive richness raised by even a seemingly simple act such as winking. By exploring the meaning of son's ability to wink, we argue that intellectual disability may be interpreted as the absence of culture. The article goes on to explore the fragility of this relationship through the example of the cultural status of adulthood. Two recent reform initiatives ‐ independent living and community inclusion ‐ are discussed in light of this interpretation of intellectual disability. Implications for further research are briefly mentioned.
This paper presents the perspective of nondisabled people who do not stigmatize, stereotype, and reject those with obvious disabilities. We look at how nondisabled people who are in caring and accepting relationships with severely disabled others define them. Although the disabled people in these relationships sometimes drool, soil themselves, and do not talk or walk—traits that most would consider highly undesirable—they are accepted by the nondisabled people as valued and loved human beings. We look at four dimensions of the nondisabled people's perspective that helps maintain the humanness of the other in their minds: (1) attributing thinking to the other, (2) seeing individuality in the other, (3) viewing the other as reciprocating, and (4) defining social place for the other. The paper illustrates a less deterministic approach to the study of deviance, suggests that people with what are conventionally thought of as extremely negatively valued characteristics can have moral careers that lead to inclusion rather than exclusion, and argues that the study of acceptance needs to be added to the more common focus on rejection.
Attitudes toward persons with disabilities are often assumed to be negative and prejudiced. This assumption is shared by researchers with different theoretical perspectives and is usually based on quantitative empirical studies. The assumption of attitudes as prejudiced is questioned in this article. Based on a review of attitude research the argument is developed that most research is based on a simplified notion of attitudes and an accompanying simplistic methodological approach. Given the limitations of theory and methods, some conclusions can nonetheless be drawn about the content of attitudes toward persons with disabilities. An interpretation in terms of prejudice does not, however, fit these data very well. Instead an interpretation in terms of ambivalence is suggested, where reactions toward persons with disabilities are seen as a result of conflicting values. Such an interpretation can help to free attitude research from its present focus on the structure of thinking, rather than content, and help trace the linkage between individual responses and societal ideologies.
This article outlines the “sociology of acceptance” as a theoretical framework for understanding relationships between people with mental retardation and typical people. As a point of departure, the authors review sociocultural perspectives on deviance and explore their contribution to the study of mental retardation. Based on qualitative research on community programs for people with severe disabilities, the authors next examine the nature of accepting relationships and describe four sentiments expressed by typical people who form relationships with people with mental retardation: family; religious commitment; humanitarian sentiments; and feelings of friendship. The article concludes with a brief discussion of the implications of a sociology of acceptance for the field of mental retardation.
This article discusses the history of the sociology of deviance and the exclusion from society of individuals who do not meet norms, and argues for a sociology emphasizing acceptance of differences on individual, group, and societal levels. Types of relationships based on mutual acceptance are discussed along with generalizations regarding the development and benefits to all parties of these relationships. Contains 17 references. (PB)
Research suggests that individuals with physical disabilities frequently experience devaluation and uncertain social interactions. Some sociologists have recently advocated a sociology of acceptance, wherein individuals with disabilities are not automatically stigmatized but may receive acceptance and civility. The purpose of this article is to examine the perceptions individuals with physical disabilities have regarding the reactions of able‐bodied persons toward their participation in a sport and physical fitness setting, as well as to explore how these individuals respond to the attitudes and behavior demonstrated by able‐bodied persons. In‐depth, tape‐recorded interviews were conducted with 19 males, between the ages of 20 and 41, with physical disabilities. Findings indicate that respondents perceive able‐bodied persons discount and overlook their physical ability to participate in sport and physical fitness activity. Such expressions of unequal respect and regard by the able‐bodied demonstrate differential treatment or a lack of acceptance. Nonetheless, these individuals with physical disabilities do not internalize the negative assessments because of masculinizing sport outcomes and minority group membership. Reasons for revisiting a sociology of acceptance are discussed.
Institusjonalisert hverdagsliv. En studie av samhandling mellom personale og beboere i bofellesskap fCYr personer med uwiklingshemning [InstitutionaUzed everyday life. A study of r:he interactions between staff and residents in grouped homes for people with intellectual disabilities]
  • H Folkestad
Folkestad, H. (2004). Institusjonalisert hverdagsliv. En studie av samhandling mellom personale og beboere i bofellesskap fCYr personer med uwiklingshemning [InstitutionaUzed everyday life. A study of r:he interactions between staff and residents in grouped homes for people with intellectual disabilities]. Bergen, Norway: Bergen Univl!rsity College.
Shoulder to shoulder: Celebrating the important work of direct support workers Further thoughts on a "sociology of acceptance" for disabled people
  • P Leidy
Leidy, P. ( 2004). Shoulder to shoulder: Celebrating the important work of direct support workers. Mental Retardation, 42,304-307. VOLUME 46, NUMilF.R 6: 427-4.35 I DECEMBER 2008 H. Folkcstad and L Folkestad Schwartz, H. ( 1988) Further thoughts on a "sociology of acceptance" for disabled people. Social Policy. 19(2), 36-39.