When the larger objective matters more: support workers’ epistemic and deontic authority over adult service-users

Charles Antaki*, Joseph Webb

*Corresponding author for this work

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

2 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We report on how support workers sometimes over‐ride the wishes of people living with cognitive impairments. This can happen when they are both involved in some project (such as an institutionally‐managed game, a physical journey, an educational activity and so on). The support worker might use their deontic authority (to propose, decide or announce future actions) to do things that advance the over‐arching project, in spite of proposals for what are cast as diversions from the person with impairments. They might also use their epistemic authority (their greater knowledge or cognitive capacity) to trump their clients’ choices and preferences in subordinate projects. Not orienting to suggested courses of actions is generally interactionally dispreferred and troublesome, but, although the providers do sometimes orient to their actions as balking their clients’ wishes, they usually do not, and encounter little resistance. We discuss how people with disabilities may resist or palliate such loss of control, and the dilemmas that support staff face in carrying out their duties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1549-1567
Number of pages19
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Volume41
Issue number8
Early online date18 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Conversation Analysis
  • deontics
  • empowerment
  • epistemics
  • Intellectual impairment
  • learning disability
  • support

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'When the larger objective matters more: support workers’ epistemic and deontic authority over adult service-users'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this