Fisher, Pamela and Goodley, Dan (2005) The Abandonment of the Heroic Narrative and the Gift of a Disabled Child. In: Nordic Network on Disability Research NNDR 8th Research Conference, 14th-16th April 2005, Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica, Oslo, Norway.

Current developments in social welfare reinforce an individual and linear life model that
is future-orientated and based on a type of heroic narrative linked to ideas associated with
hegemonic masculinity. The future is there to be managed. In New Labour Britain, for
instance, the citizen worker is upheld as the embodiment of ‘the good life’and a culture
of responsibilisation obliges citizens to strive towards maximum personal autonomy. In
the area of disability, this reinforces the individual/medical model whilst cementing
traditional professional hierarchies and boundaries. Drawing on ethnographic data and on
25 in-depth interviews conducted with parents of babies and young children with special
needs, this paper suggests that some parents are developing an alternative narrative of
interdependence based on a rhizomatic way of being and an optimistic openness to
uncertainty. This narrative is located in the present, limited control is balanced with
limited risk, and the parents subscribe to a politics of recognition that expands the
concept of citizenship in a way that can positively embrace disability.

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