What's in a name? ADHD and Social Role Valorization Theory: its relevance for developing emancipatory practice

Oak, Eileen (2004). What's in a name? ADHD and Social Role Valorization Theory: its relevance for developing emancipatory practice. International Journal of Disability, Community and Rehabilitation, 3(1)

URL: http://www.ijdcr.ca/VOL03_01_CAN/articles/oak.shtm...

Abstract

Grounded in feminist discursive analysis, this paper seeks to evaluate the relevance of Social Role Valorization Theory (SRV) to an understanding of the diagnosis of ADHD. This is done by exploring the discursive analysis of Rafalovich (1999) on the neurological and psychoanalytical nomenclature of the condition and contextualising this within a small case study of children accommodated within the public care system in a local authority in the UK. The experiences of these children is compared to the broader trends in ADHD in the UK and US, by locating the increase in diagnoses within the political economy of the pharmaceutical industry, with particular reference to methylphenidate production.

The paper then concludes with an examination of the adequacy of this kind of discursive analysis to an understanding of ADHD through comparison with SRV theory. In doing so it will be argued that SRV represents a viable theory for the deconstruction of oppressive discourses which goes beyond the social constructions of disability and the normalization debate (to which SRV is often simplistically related) and thus it provides a framework for the development of emancipatory practice.

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