Legally blind people’s experiences of stigma in the context of the labour market: Stories of adaptation and resistance

Date

2014-08-25

Authors

Jansenberger, Martha

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Abstract

This thesis examines the labour market experiences of a purposive sample of legally blind people in a medium-sized Canadian city. Relevant literature on disability, employment and stigma is reviewed, providing context for the thesis. Thematic analysis of qualitative data gathered from 18 in-depth face-to-face interviews of legally blind working-age participants provide rich narratives of their experiences in the labour market and society at large. The participants’ current and past employment situations are described and barriers to acceptance of their disability in the workforce are identified. Findings suggest that while perceived, enacted, and felt stigma constitute significant barriers to meaningful employment for the participants, many employ effective strategies to adapt to or resist stigmatizing treatment by others. Policy suggestions are provided to mitigate the impact of stigma on the lives of legally blind Canadians. The thesis concludes with suggestions for future directions of research in the area.

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Keywords

blindness, unemployment, resistance, stigma, blind, employment, labour market, labor

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