First Advisor

Ben Anderson-Nathe

Date of Publication

Summer 7-20-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work




Intellectual disability, Sex, Genealogy (Philosophy), Michel Foucault (1926-1984)



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 231 pages)


A genealogical framework highlights the important role sexuality has played in constructing the current label of intellectual disability (ID). The genealogical framework is meant to replace the social, medical, and/or rights-based model(s) that have dominated social work and social services working in the disability field. With this framework, or perspective, I use a Foucaultian discourse analysis to read through seminal texts regarding person-centered practice.

Person-centered practice is the foremost intervention used in social work, and other disciplines, to work with people labeled with intellectual disability. My research questions focus on what is revealed about ID in PCP through a genealogical framework and what implications do these discoveries hold for sexuality education and social services, including social workers?

Predetermined concepts taken from the genealogical framework are used in the Foucaultian discourse analysis. These concepts (subject, government, biopower, and normalization) provide insight into how ID has been constructed and maintained through the practice of person-centered processes. Paradoxes emerge throughout the analysis, providing space for productive resistance by professionals working in sexuality education and social services to improve equity for people labeled with intellectual disability, specifically regarding their sexuality and healthy expression of it.


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