When ‘There’s Nowhere Else to Go’: Exploring rights to self-determination and community inclusion within day services for adults with intellectual disabilities in the Republic of Ireland
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This dissertation is framed by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its commitment to transformation of the lives of people with disabilities. Using Institutional Ethnography as a method of inquiry, this dissertation explores human rights in the provision of day services to adult persons with intellectual disabilities (PWID) in the Republic of Ireland. Ireland ratified the CRPD in March 2018, imposing obligations on the State to ensure implementation of human rights for persons with disabilities, including in voluntary sector settings in which the majority of day services are provided. To date, little research has focused on this area of disability service provision, and none has cast light on how human rights are known, understood, and enacted in such contexts. This research used observations and interviews and documentary analysis to explore the disjuncture between New Directions policy descriptions of day services reconfiguration as supports for selfdetermination and community inclusion and embodied experiences of day services as segregated, group-based provision. It does so from the standpoint of persons with intellectual disabilities and includes the narratives of day centre staff as extra-local informants. The findings uncover the interlocking institutional relations that govern the lives of PWID and makes visible the circumstances that undermines and inhibits rights to selfdetermination and community inclusion within day services. The findings indicate that rights have some normative influence within the fieldwork setting but are constrained by work practices that continue to organise PWID lives within institutional parameters. This is exacerbated by a lack of commitment on behalf of the State to embed rights of PWID in legislation and inchoate conceptualisations and instrumentalization of human rights in policy and practice.