The Construction of 'Intellectual Disability' in Ecuador: From the Lack of a Sense to a Matter of Development

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The idea of 'intellectual disability' in an Andean country is commonly understood and observed through generalized assumption about Latin America as a homogenous region. Historical, economic, political and cultural analyses have tended to perpetuate the notion that Latin America is a unified body of nations with common roots. However, there are important cultural differences and social experiences in each country and locale, that give rise to particular interpretations of specific concepts and 'intellectual disability' is an important example. Based on data gained through extensive field work and the collection of stories of family life, and one case study in particular, this presentation will describe and explain the establishment of six elements that shape common understandings of 'intellectual disability' in Ecuador.

It will be argued that significant institutional bodies: church, state, media, NGOs, academia and family, generate embodied discourses that become the raw material for policies and strategies of development that renders social inclusion strategies ineffective as they pay little attention to specific historical, cultural and social phenomena. As a result, disabled people are subjected to bigoted negative stereotyping underpinned by diagnostic categories sanctioned by official and institutionalized practices. It is discussed that a comprehensive exploration of the social construction of the concept 'intellectual disability' is needed that generates a critical account of a conceptual framework that includes texts and contexts within the complexity of the post-colonial structures of Ecuadorian society. This paper aims to provide the first steps in the development of such an account.

Keywords: Disability, Intellectual Disability, Postcolonialism, Modernity, Institutional Power
Stream: Sociology, Geography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Wizard, the Priest, the Doctor, the Community Worker and my Mother, The

MA, Msc Beatriz Miranda Galarza

PhD Researcher, Disability Studies Centre
School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds

Leeds, Yorkshire, UK

Born in Ecuador. Sociologist (Universidad Central del Ecuador), Master in Cultural Studies (UNiversidad Simon Boliva, QUito) Specialist in Development (Instituto Tecnologico de Monterres, Mexico) Master in Development and Cultures, mention in Disability (University of Leuven, Belgium, PhD Candidate Disability Studies (University of Leeds, UK. Work Experience: 13 years working on the field of International Cooperation and disability in Latin America. Fields of interest: Disability, Modernity, Family and Ethnicity, Postcoloniality.

Ref: I08P0907