Advocacy as resistance: speaking up as a way of fighting back

Atkinson, Dorothy; Cooper, Mabel and Ferris, Gloria (2006). Advocacy as resistance: speaking up as a way of fighting back. In: Mitchell, Duncan; Traustadottir, Rannveig; Chapman, Rohhss; Townson, Louise; Ingham, Nigel and Ledger, Sue eds. Exploring experiences of advocacy by people with learning disabilities: testimonies of resistance. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, pp. 13–19.



In this chapter, Mabel Cooper and Gloria Ferris discuss what it was like to speak up in the past and what is is like to do so nowadays. The term 'advocacy' was not used in the 1950s when these stories began, but advocacy itself existed. It often took the form or resistance, especially in the long-stay hospitals. Some of the people who spoke up for others years ago went on to become advocates; this was the experience of Gloria Ferris, as she explains in her story. Other people went on to form the self-advocacy groups and the People First organisations of the 1980s, 1990s and the present. Mabel Cooper describes how she got involved in the self-advocacy movement in later years, after she left St Lawrence's Hospital in Caterham, Surrey. The chapter reflects on how people's resistance to their allotted roles and others' low expectations of them became part of what has turned out to be a longer story of the emergence of advocacy and self-advocacy.

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