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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Foucault, disability studies, and mental health diagnoses in children: An analysis of discourse and the social construction of disability
by Crane, Sarah Elizabeth Rachel, Ed.D., Lewis and Clark College, 2015, 146; 10010997
Abstract (Summary)

This study set out to understand the lived experience of children with mental health diagnoses. With the Foucaldian concepts of historicizing, biopower, power and nominalism, combined with the Disability Studies concepts of the social construction of disability, normative culture, and child voice, the study focused on six boys with mental health diagnoses placed in a summer day treatment program. Data collection included child interviews, field observations in the day treatment center, and the review of documentary evidence including educational files, and treatment center artifacts. The data were analyzed for individual child stories, file review data comparison, turn taking, and pieces of the conceptual framework.

Critical discourse analysis determined decades of social construction and normative culture were at play in both the child experiences and in the researcher’s gathering and understanding of the data. Despite the purpose of the research to step away from these influences and allow the participants’ stories to organically emerge, the researcher co-produced truth with the children that reinforced the status quo. The three themes emerging from the initial data analysis of child sense of self, adult knowledge & power, and child power led to a revised conceptual framework with power as a more constant, fluid piece of the children’s lived experiences. Further analysis suggests historicizing, nominalism, biopower, social construction, and normative culture, while seemingly invisible, are constantly interacting and leaning on each other to create the researcher’s lens and reality as well as the participant lived experiences. Power moves among the pieces while holding them together.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Feldman, Sue
Commitee: Diamond, Elena, Hughes, Chloe, Roberts-Frank, Alicia
School: Lewis and Clark College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 77/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Educational psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Child interview, Child mental health, Disability studies, Foucault, Social construction
Publication Number: 10010997
ISBN: 978-1-339-46977-5
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