Caring for the Disabled Employee: Child Rhetoric Among Managers and Employees in Danish Work Organisations

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The analysis in this study is based on a qualitative interview study conducted in 2013 in 13 Danish work organisations. The study includes interviews with 13 employees with cerebral palsy and 19 managers and 43 colleagues who work together with the 13 persons with cerebral palsy on a daily basis. The paper’s aim is to develop the scant previous research conducted on the relationship between work conditions and disability (Hyde 2000, Barnes & Mercer 2005). Disability studies have praised either a medical model approach, placing people with disabilities and their impairment in the forefront, or a social model, directing attention to the barriers in the labour market, when disabled persons’ work lives have been the centre of interest (e.g., Shakespeare & Watson 2001, Berthoud 2008). In the literature, both approaches have been criticised for being too narrow in their goal of analysing the working lives of disabled people (Barnes & Mercer 2005, Paterson & Hughes 2010). A recurrent theme in this study’s transcribed and coded interviews was not an awareness of bullying and harassment, as other studies have found (e.g., Fevre et al. 2013), but rather how managers and employees without impairments discussed their impaired colleague as a child in need of (parental) care. This child/parent model will be analysed from a critical perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAmerican Sociological Association Annual Meeting. ASA 2014 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 16 Aug 201419 Aug 2014
Conference number: 109


ConferenceAmerican Sociological Association Annual Meeting. ASA 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address

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