Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Research Student: Hilda Beatriz Miranda Galarza

Family and disability: a social and cultural analysis of intellectual disability in Ecuador

Due to the absence of sociological and anthropological studies about family and intellectual disability in Ecuador, this proposal aims to produce critical and reliable information regarding the understanding that families with members labelled as intellectually disabled have about the concept of intellectual disability in Ecuador.

Applying principles of reflectiveness, consciousness and participation (Freire 1972, Boff 1988) the study aims for finding elements that permit to examine critically two facts:

  • The factors that influence the construction of the concept of intellectual disability within disabled families.
  • The strategies that disabled families and their impaired members develop to negotiate, to accept, or to reject and to confront the official concepts, labels and medical/psychological treatments.

With the purpose of giving voice to the individuals and their families, life stories will be collected from Ecuadorian families of three different ethnic backgrounds: indio, negro and mestizo.

The process will be developed through: in-depth interviews with a semi-structured format; and, participant observation as a useful technique to understand meanings of life and experiences. The results of the research intend to contribute to the improvement of the work of the disability social movement, international organisations and the government introducing approaches of conscientization and community action. In this way, the study hopes to play a significant part in giving voice to disabled people and their families which will hopefully bring about new means for policies and changes of attitudes.

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