The (radical) role of belonging in shifting and expanding understandings of social inclusion for people labelled with intellectual and developmental disabilities

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  • There is a gap between the desired outcomes of social inclusion policy and the everyday experiences of people labelled with intellectual or developmental disability. Despite belonging rhetorically named in social inclusion policy and practice, belonging is often absent in the lives of people labelled with intellectual or developmental disability and remains undertheorised in its relationship to social inclusion. In this paper we explore the role belonging might play in narrowing this gap. Drawing on critical disability and feminist relational theories, we outline a relational conceptualization of belonging and use it to ‘crip’ the construct of social inclusion, asking the question: ‘Is belonging a useful construct in expanding and shifting understandings of social inclusion in ways that value crip and other non normative ways of being?’. We explore the synergies and tensions that surface when social inclusion and belonging are held together as discrete but interconnected constructs, naming four conceptual shifts and expansions that allow us to see social inclusion differently.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International