Institutional environments and sub-cultural belonging: Theatre and intellectual disabilities

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This article analyses a theatre, Olla, which has actors with intellectual disabilities. Using qualitative methods the aims are to analyse how Olla relates to institutional environments and to analyse the social meaning of acting. The results are based on two empirical research projects using three qualitative methods: participant observation; open, non-structured qualitative interviews with both the leaders and the actors; and research circles with the actors. The results were analysed from a neo-institutional and a sub-cultural perspective. The results show that, at an organizational level, Olla is connected to the two different logics, which generate a certain ambivalence in relation to the surrounding environment. Legitimacy is rooted in a duality between process and product, art and therapy. However, the process at hand creates cultural meaning, where the emphasis is on the identification and celebration of difference. By sharing the same cultural belonging and by expressing this in relation to the public, the actors have developed confidence and strength with emancipatory significance. It has given them an instrument with which to deal with their experiences of ambivalence to their environment. © 2007 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.




Ineland, J., & Sauer, L. (2007). Institutional environments and sub-cultural belonging: Theatre and intellectual disabilities. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 9(1), 46–57.

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