Utility, economic rationalism and the circumscription of agency

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BackgroundGreat strides have been achieved over the past few decades in service provision for people with intellectual disability (ID). However, there has also been a growth in the use of economic rationalism and a related rise in managerialism in forming service provision outcomes.MethodAn account of the focus on process and means of provision directed within the managerialist agenda to determine how individual authority has become subsumed within patterns of dependence.ResultsAn underlying influence of utilitarianism has led to a focus on servicing the average through service provision trajectories which in turn have weakened the pace for social change and perpetuated a vulnerable conception of people with ID.ConclusionsThere has been a qualification of the idealised intent of providing individualised support, choice and recognition of the moral worth of people with ID into relative features of equality. There remains an overriding static conception of the person with ID within funding frameworks and service provision which relies on economic and rationalist depictions of the individual.

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