This article-based thesis examines residents’ participation in residential services for people with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. The three articles in the thesis explore how residents’ opportuni-ties for participation (which is a focal point in Danish disability policies and in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) play out in interaction with staff in residential services. Theoretically, the thesis is informed by an interactional perspective that is primarily based on Erving Goffman’s and Randall Collins’ reflections about the social situation as being what shapes human action. Furthermore, the theoretical framework consists of a relational understanding of disability that perceives disability as being generated in the encounter between the person with impairments and the social environments. The thesis approaches participation as an objective dimension, that is acts persons perform in their immediate social environments, and as an subjective dimension, that involves persons’ feeling of coherence and perception of their involvement in their own lives. Methodically, the study is based on participant observations and interviews and focus groups with staff and interviews with residents in two residential services. The thesis contributes primarily with empirical knowledge of how interactions - together with impairments – form opportunities for participation. In particular, the focus is on how residents and staff interactively are active contributors to opportunities for participation. Taking its starting point in a micro-sociological perspective, the thesis aims to illustrate dilemmas of the modern welfare state’s work to develop vulnerable citizens to be-come active participants in their own lives instead of being passive receivers of support.
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PublisherSociologisk Institut, Københavns Universitet