University of Hertfordshire

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Liberal Individualism and Deleuzean Relationality in Intellectual Disability

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-372
Number of pages33
JournalPhilosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017


Successful critiques of health policies for people with impaired cognition identify a need for alternatives that go beyond individualism. ‘Choice’ policy was examined as young people with severe intellectual disabilities moved from special schools to adult services. We draw on three cases from a longitudinal cohort study to examine the way decisions with and for these young people were made and accounted for. It was not a simple matter of parents and transition workers hearing about these young people’s choices and facilitating what they wanted. The data raise questions about discourses of choice in ID when referring to people with severe intellectual disabilities: Few ‘choices’ could be considered informed nor made by young people with capacity to make them and many decisions were informed by other ethics. Findings were interpreted through a Deleuzean ethical–relational lens. We identify implications for theory and practice to show how Deleuzean thinking can reinvigorate intellectual disability.


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Jennifer Clegg, Elizabeth Murphy, and Kathryn Almack, ‘Liberal Individualism and Deleuzean Relationality in Intellectual Disability’, Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, Vol. 24 (4): 359-372, December 2017. The final, definitive version is available online at DOI:, published by John Hopkins University Press.

ID: 12614090