Disability, deinstitutionalisation and discourse : an analysis of institutional reform policies in Queensland, 1994-1996

Chenoweth, Lesley Irene, (1998) Disability, deinstitutionalisation and discourse : an analysis of institutional reform policies in Queensland, 1994-1996. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The closure of large institutions for people with intellectual disability and the subsequent shift to community living has been a feature of social policies in most western democracies for more than two decades. While the move from congregated settings to homes in the community has been heralded as a positive and desirable strategy, deinstitutionalisation has continued to be a controversial policy and practice. This research critically analyses the implementation of a deinstitutionalisation policy called Institutional Reform in the state of Queensland from May 1994 until it was dismantled under a new government in the middle of 1996. A trajectory study of the policy from early conceptualisation through its development, implementation and final extinction was undertaken. Several methods were utilised in the research including the textual analyis of policy documents, discussion papers and newspaper articles, interviews with stakeholders and participant observation. The research draws on theories of discourse and focuses on how discourses of disability shape policy and practice. The thesis outlines a number of implications for policy implementation more generally as well as for disability services. In particular, the theoretical framework builds on Fulcher's (1989) disabling discourses - medical, charity, lay and rights - and identifies two additional discourses of economics and inclusion. The thesis argues that competing disability discourses operated in powerful ways to shape the implementation of the policy and illustrates how older discourses based on fear and prejudice were promoted to positions of dominance and power.

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ID Code: 36551
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Taylor, Sandra C.
Additional Information: Presented to the School of Cultural and Policy Studies, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: People with disabilities Services for Queensland, Deinstitutionalization Queensland, thesis, doctoral
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Lesley Irene, Chenoweth
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:05
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2016 05:36

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