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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Ethical issues presented by people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and mental health problems are usually addressed by reference to rights, autonomy, choice, and inclusion. These liberal valuesprovide certainty in the face of uncertain and complex situations. However, Deleuze argues that ethical vision expands more effectively by sitting with repetition: the most obvious repetition in ID is scandals. Inquiries into the abuse of people in the community as well as hospital patients suggest that denial of difficulty associated with ID encourages denial of the difficulty experienced by staff and parents. They also show how an essentially-contested dichotomy between medical and social models is played out, obscuring the significant emotional impact of ID on all parties not least on the individual’s own sense of personhood. We argue for a triple shift in ethical thinking: from individual achievements to enduring relationships; from negative judgment to affirmative living; and from moral rules to practical action.

Keywords: intellectual disabilities, scandals, denial, Deleuze, ethics

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