The Blurred Edges of Intellectual Disability

Val Williams, Paul Swift, Victoria Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
534 Downloads (Pure)


The label of ‘intellectual disability’ can be a very blurred concept, because for those on the borders, their label often arises from the interaction of the individual with their environment, from their socio-economic status, and from the social role which they choose to undertake. This paper explores the contested notion of intellectual disability in the context of people who have been in trouble with the law in England, and contrasts their situation with that of people who have been protected by best interests decisions under the Mental Capacity Act (England and Wales). People who are on the ‘borderline’ of having an intellectual disability, like any citizens, have a range of intersecting identities. Drawing on the notions of ‘interactional’ disability theory, we reflect on the shifting, relative nature of intellectual disability, and the need for the law to focus on support needs, rather than on impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-716
Number of pages13
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number5
Early online date25 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 10/04/2015


Dive into the research topics of 'The Blurred Edges of Intellectual Disability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this