Cultural affordance, social relationships, and narratives of independence: Understanding the meaning of social care for adults with intellectual disabilities from minority ethnic groups in the UK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Michael Larkin
  • Malvika Iyer
  • Sofia Zahid
  • Kulsoom Malik

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Aston University


Objectives: To explore the perspective of adults with intellectual disabilities from minority ethnic groups, on their relationship with social care services. Methods: Thirty-two adults took part in semi-structured interviews. Transcripts were analyzed within a Pluralist framework, adopting the structure of Template Analysis and then drawing on phenomenological, narrative, and discursive approaches. Results: Our participants were generally positive about the services which they received, which they evaluated primarily in terms of their continuing good relationship(s) with specific workers. Our respondents were sophisticated users of cultural resources and identities; the concept of ‘cultural affordance’ may be useful alternative to ‘cultural competence’. We discuss three distinctive narratives about independence (Stability; Progress; Resistance). Each highlights the importance of maintaining connectedness to others, and the crucial role played by ownership of decision-making. Conclusions: We have developed a set of resources which service providers (and researchers) can use with people with intellectual disabilities, in order to support mutual understanding, service planning and delivery.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-203
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jun 2018


  • culture, ethnicity, independence, interviews, pluralist, relationships, social care