A study of subjectivity and selfhood in the context of subjects with physical disabilities: A theoretical approach

Kumar, Namitha A (2016) A study of subjectivity and selfhood in the context of subjects with physical disabilities: A theoretical approach. Doctoral thesis, NIAS.

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Thesis advisorMenon, SangeethaUNSPECIFIED
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    Abstract: The present thesis A Study of Subjectivity and Selfhood in the Context of Subjects with Physical Disabilities: A Theoretical Approach focuses on the self and subjectivity in people with disabilities in a relational context in Indian society. Moving beyond the mainstream logico-positivist psychological approaches, the study involves an exploration of selfhood and its various aspects like self-concept, self-esteem, self-efficacy, authenticity and identity grounded in the context of individual lives. The focus is on the subjective and psychological experiences of disability where people with disabilities are forced to contend with unfair, oppressive and exclusive physical and psychological environments. Using concepts like ableism/disablism, the study brings out the impact of these ideologies on the self and identity of people with disabilities. The study also brings out strong, positive selves and the resilient process of selfhood as individuals move through trying and difficult life situations. A key aspect and contribution of this study is the conceptualization of “adapting self” in disability as people adapt and evolve with their bodies, physical and psychological environments. The study uses the narrative as a primary mode in exploring selfhood and subjectivity drawing out connections between narrative, memory and emotion in narrative recalls of experiences. The act of personal narration and sharing stories with the researcher as audience is a social act. The study can be said to be co-constructed both by the researcher and the researched. The researcher acknowledges her own subjectivity in interpretation and analysis. The study is interdisciplinary and grounded within psychology and disability studies as it remaps psychology to disability studies by drawing on psychological theories and concepts in the study of disability. The study is mainly qualitative in its research approaches as it draws on critical psychological methods like social constructionism, narrative analysis and phenomenological psychology. However, the study significantly includes an empirical component in data collection through a public response survey to arrive at an understanding of implicit biases, prejudices and stereotypical attitudes towards disability. The empirical component correlates to the lived experiences of people with disabilities as individuals constantly deal with overt and covert prejudicial attitudes and stereotypes in their daily lives. Self and subjectivity as psychological concepts allowed a significant opening for the researcher to enter the psychological worlds of people with disabilities and gain a rich understanding of the travails and tribulations of selves undergoing traumatic experiences both at the level of the physical body, psychological and sociocultural environments. The insights from this study are significant in understand the self as a process continually in the making as individuals cue off from their social settings. The self in the context of disability goes through significant changes as individuals deal with self-acceptance, self-affirmation and ultimately learn to cope and exercise a certain degree of agency, autonomy and choice within the given constraints. The study indicates that the self is
    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: The thesis was submitted to the Department of Pyschology, University of Mysore, Mysore. [Year of Award 2016] [Thesis No. TH28]
    Subjects: School of Humanities > Psychology
    Divisions: Schools > Humanities
    Date Deposited: 03 May 2016 10:53
    Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 10:12
    URI: http://eprints.nias.res.in/id/eprint/1069

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