Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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This paper examines how life story books were used in two care settings in the UK for people with complex support needs. The context of the research was the transition of six people from a long stay hospital to a community home. Discourse analysis was used to analyse talk and texts in the care settings including staff interviews, meetings and the written text in the life story books themselves. Three uses of the books are highlighted in the analysis. They were used as a resource for: getting to know the person; defining the person; and displaying personality and uniqueness. Mutual identities of the various participants were constantly changing with reference to the life story books. It is suggested that the books encourage acceptance in the care relationships. The analysis demonstrated that despite the different uses of the life story books, highlighted by the care staff, there is an underlying assumption that what is written in the books is a direct representation of the person. It appears that once this type of information is committed to paper the identity of the person becomes reified.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse analysis; identities; intellectual disabilities; life story
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