Challenging Categories: An Ethnography of Young Adults with Down Syndrome in a Community in Ontario

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Kidd, Abigail




This thesis explores the impact that being categorized into a specific category of disability has on the lives of a group of young adults with Down syndrome in Ontario. It is an ethnography of young adults who attend a community-based day program and the staff and guardians with whom they regularly relate. It also tracks the influence categories of intellectual disability have had historically, and currently have, on the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. It shows the ways in which the participants are complicatedly resisting a disabled, Down syndrome identity, and the ways in which the
program is both complicit in and in resistance to the limitations imposed on these individuals. This thesis ultimately points to the ways in which social perceptions, power relations, and widely held understandings of Down syndrome largely determine the opportunities and experiences of people categorized as having Down syndrome.


Cultural Anthropology




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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