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Debilitating landscapes of care and support: envisaging alternative futures

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E-pub ahead of print
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Social and Cultural Geography
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date30/06/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of policy changes and budget cuts on services and support faced by people with learning disabilities. Drawing upon collaborative research in England and Scotland and interviews with commissioners and support organisations, we show how landscapes of care and support are unstable and fragmented. We identify how pressures of time, resource and precaritisation in the workforce are creating ‘debilitating landscapes of care’ that further erode the capacities of both the people that work in the sector and people with learning disabilities. Some challenges that people with learning disabilities face in this context include finding appropriate local support, narrowing access as a result of reductions in benefit entitlements and identifying quality providers amid a complex array of private and charitable provision. Capacity to cope with these challenges is contingent on access to quality advocacy, supportive family, friendships, productive occupational learning environments and peer support, but these are not always available. The impact of COVID-19 has only served to intensify some of the issues we identify and the urgent need for a response. Our analysis is inspired by Berlant’s (2007) conception of ‘slow-death’ and Puar’s (2017) associated conceptualisation of ‘debility’.