Tensions around inclusion: Reframing the moral horizon

Jennifer Clegg, Elizabeth Murphy, Kathryn Almack, Anna Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Inclusion is one of four policies for people with disabilities in the UK. Criticisms of its three key attributes - mainstreaming, independent living and employment - are reviewed. This study of 28 young people, most with severe intellectual disabilities, investigated engagement with inclusion at their transition to adult services. Data were collected from the young people where possible; from their carers, mostly parents; and from professionals responsible for brokering transition. Narrative analysis of this material investigated ways in which respondents did or did not engage with the goals of inclusion as defined in various policy documents. Both mainstreaming and independent living were experienced as moral imperatives which generated tension for many respondents. Employment was associated with less tension, probably because only a minority of respondents considered it salient. Possible alternative goals invoked by parents/carers and professionals were meaningful activity and same-age social relationships. There is a need to acknowledge the moral pressures and judgements arising from inclusion policy that complicate decision-making at transition and to shift the moral horizon away from individual attainments and towards the activities and relationships that take people beyond themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • Inclusion
  • Intellectual disability
  • Moral order
  • Policy
  • Transition


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