Thesis (Ph.D)

Citizenship, social work and disabled people in Malaysia


Within the wider renaissance of the citizenship debate and the social model of disability, this thesis on citizenship, social work and disabled people, attempts to establish the value and applicability of a citizenship model of social work practice among disabled people in Malaysia. The citizenship model is developed through a critical review of the relevant literature on citizenship, disability and social work in relation to Malaysian economic, social and political development. Its value and applicability are assessed through empirical research on policy, organisation and pratice in services for disabled people in Malaysia. Three aspects of social welfare are addressed and integrated throughout this thesis. Firstly, citizenship; secondly, disability theories and models; thirdly, disabled people and voluntary organisations in the Klang valley region of Malaysia. In this study a collaborative action research method was utilized and this has facilitated disabled people's participation in the research together with an opportunity to introduce the findings directly to voluntary organisations under study. Furthermore, the attempt in this study to link macro and micro concerns, theory and practice, quantitative and qualitative approaches in one field study, has potential for further development. Through a comprehensive overview of thirty one voluntary organisations based in the Kiang valley region of Malaysia, a four-fold typology of organisations emerged namely charity care, enabling care, advocacy and self-help. Further analysis identified clear differences in priorities and programmes adopted by voluntary organisations controlled and managed by disabled people and those by non-disabled people. This analysis was further confirmed with an in-depth study of two organisations, one from each of these two categories. This thesis reveals that disabled people in Malaysia can make a claim for their membership and inclusion in Malaysian society based on citizenship rights and responsibilities. Consistent with citizenship principles, disabled people themselves and their organisations will have to continue to take the lead not only at the level of analysis and advocacy but also in developing creative alternative services which afford disabled people ownership and control. The implications of this development for both the public and voluntary sectors controlled and managed by non-disabled people are identified. 1

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Jayasooria, Denison


Supervisors: George, Peter; Davies, Phil

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Year: 1996


UK Government : British High Commissioner's Award

Published by Oxford Brookes University
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