Linking Disability and Intercultural Studies: the adaptation journey of the visually impaired migrant in Ireland
Murphy, Esther (2011) Linking Disability and Intercultural Studies: the adaptation journey of the visually impaired migrant in Ireland. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This study focuses on the lived experiences of the visually impaired migrant in Ireland and this is the first study to document the lives of these members of Irish society. It examines how visually impaired migrants are simultaneously adapting to their disability and a new cultural environment while living in Ireland. In so doing this study aims to link the two academic fields of Intercultural Studies and Disability Studies and theoretical underpinnings for this study are drawn and woven together from both fields. As such this study draws from the development of theories relating to disability as well as the intercultural aspects of migration.
Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 participants living in the larger Dublin region, which comprised of two groups; migrant users and providers of services for the visually impaired. Data analysis was assisted through the software package Atlas.ti. A grounded theory approach to collecting and analysing data was adopted as this facilitates the flow from raw data to codes to concepts. Purposive sampling was employed and the typical method of grounded theory of constant comparison was not used, rather interviews were analysed individually once they were all completed then compared. Research findings indicate that the cultural perceptions of disability may help or hinder the individual’s adaptation process both to their visual impairment and to living and integrating into a new culture in Ireland. Findings cluster around the three areas of cultural perceptions of disability, support networks and cultural barriers to adaptation. Synergising theoretical concepts and data steered the development of a new integrative model which identifies the inhibitors and facilitators for the process of adaptation to visual impairment for a migrant in Ireland.
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