Encouraging real or make-believe citizen-workers? Narratives of self-realization versus disabling support-to-work contexts by individuals with High Functioning Autism
Faten Nouf-Latif, Katarina Andersson, Urban Markström
Department of social work, Umeå University
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Citizen-worker, High functioning autism Inclusion, Self-realisation, Vocational rehabilitation, Work

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Urban Markström, F. N.-L. (2019). Encouraging real or make-believe citizen-workers? Narratives of self-realization versus disabling support-to-work contexts by individuals with High Functioning Autism. Academy Journal, (6(18), 32-50. Retrieved from http://scopuseu.com/scopus/index.php/academy/article/view/722
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Sweden, like other Western countries, has a disability legislation that coexists with the Active Labour Market Policies. ALMP address a discourse emphasizing the importance of the able and productive ‘citizen-worker’, who is expected to craft his/her own success through meaningful personal goals and ambitions. This discourse also impacts disability groups who are actualized for support-to-work interventions, such as people with high-functioning autism (HFA). The objective of this paper is to analyse how narratives targeting ambitions and self-realisation in work life are expressed by individuals with HFA in relation to the citizen-worker discourse. This ethnographic study comprises 26 qualitative interview narratives by 11 participants with HFA. Findings indicate that the participants have developed a strong citizen-worker identity. The will is an essential point of gravity, expressed through notions of individual meaningfulness and ambitions of being perceived as resources in any vocational context. Barriers to these ambitions are experienced as personally counteractive support-to-work practices. These results suggest that disability legislation and policies are caught in a mantra of stagnating normalisation, resulting in disability-worker interventions that are incompatible with mean- ings emphasized in the citizen-worker discourse, which is the new ‘normal’ of today.

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