Gatekeepers of Normalcy: The disablement of families in the master narratives of psychology

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Dminant cultural discourses on families of children with disabilities center on themes of grief, loss, tragedy, and "denial." This chapter unpacks these largely unchallenged assumptions, situating them in the context of a historical pathologizing of this group of families in the master narratives of psychology. Framing its discussion within constructivist understandings of disability, it problematizes mental health discourses, which lend support to notions of "denial" among parents. It argues that casting parents’ subjective meaning-making in response to their children’s disabilities as pathology is rooted in ableist ideologies. In privileging the perspectives of those in positions of power and control, the institutionalized narratives of mental health discredit agency among families and serve to reinforce restrictive definitions of normalcy and normative family life.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisabling Domesticity
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781137487698
ISBN (Print)9781137487681
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


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