Connecting stories: a narrative approach of social inclusion of persons with intellectual disability

H.P. Meininger

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Social inclusion is a leading goal of policy and practice in care and support for persons with intellectual disabilities. However, its conceptualization, moral presuppositions and effects are far from clear. In answering the call for reconceptualization, the author refers to cultural-historical, sociological and philosophical analyses on otherness and the other and on their integration in thought, in discourse and in society. An alternative view of inclusion is offered in which the attention is not directed at political, legal, or managerial measures, but at connecting people by opening a dialogue in which life stories are exchanged. In the second part of this contribution some theoretical foundations of such a narrative approach of social inclusion are developed. Also, preconditions are explored for a space in which a dialogue of life stories may flourish. The role of persons with intellectual disabilities as actors in and authors of life stories is explained. It is concluded that all care paradigms including the current citizenship paradigm, suffer from a hegemonic dichotomy that frustrates social inclusion. A paradigm of encounter is proposed to underpin policies and practices in which a central place is cleared for the taking care of and nourishing of beneficial connections between people and their life stories. © 2010 Association ALTER. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-202
Number of pages13
JournalALTER. European Journal of Disability research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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