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  • 2017kaleyphd

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Green care in agriculture: a visual ethnographic study exploring the therapeutic landscape experiences of people with intellectual disabilities engaged in care farming activities

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Unpublished
Publication date2018
Number of pages293
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The use of agricultural landscapes to create interventions to improve health and wellbeing (care farming) is increasingly being advocated as a viable alternative to more traditional forms of health and social care. Yet the views and experiences of people with intellectual disabilities (the UK care farm industry’s main service user) have rarely been sought. Given the current lack of evidence, this study aims to fill this gap through an in-depth exploration of the wellbeing effects of care farming for people with intellectual disabilities. Theoretically, this thesis is situated within the field(s) of social and health geography. Specifically, it draws together recent work on therapeutic landscapes, non-representational theory and disability geographies to build a conceptual framework, through which to explore the material, embodied, relational and inter-subjective elements that foreground people’s therapeutic landscape encounters. Using a range of qualitative methods of data collection (including photography and film) this research draws on empirical findings from seven ethnographic case studies. Three substantive chapters examine the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities engaged in care farming activities for health and wellbeing. The first describes participants’ embodied engagements with various features of the care farm environment and ways in which these served to facilitate or hinder the formation of a therapeutic landscape experience. The second explores the wider impact that these kinds of encounters had on the everyday lives of participants. The third chapter examines in more detail the place experiences described in the previous two chapters, and the extent to which these experiences may facilitate feelings of belonging (both at the care farm and within the wider community). This, I argue, is an important wellbeing outcome of care farming for people with intellectual disabilities. In drawing together the arguments presented throughout, I argue that this thesis contributes to the field of therapeutic landscapes by drawing attention to the transformative power of the therapeutic encounter, as well as the broader socio-spatial environments in which people live and ways in which these can limit that power. This thesis also contributes to disability scholarship by moving beyond purely discursive accounts of disability centred on meaning and identity, to consider actual visceral experience, as this relates to health and impairment.