Theorising deinstitutionalisation of residential care institutions.

01 October 2023 → 30 September 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Human-centered design
  • Social sciences
    • Disabilities and developmental disorders
    • Social policy
    • Social change
    • Social work not elsewhere classified
deinstitutionalisation socio-spatial quality capabilities
Project description

In the wake of the ratification of the UNCRPD, social work policy and practice reforms in western welfare states have actively promoted ‘deinstitutionalisation’ of care for people with intellectual disabilities: the development of community-based care is perceived as the desirable alternative to large-scale residential care institutions. The urgency of the issue is widely supported, while there is no consensus as to how to address it. The scarce body of international social work research on the dynamics at stake in the deinstitutionalisation of care for people with intellectual disabilities point to 3 theoretical knowledge gaps: (1) the narrow meaning of location, (2) the narrow meaning of autonomy and (3) the narrow meaning of professional orientation in deinstitutionalisation processes. This research project will tackle the three gaps above mentioned by theorising deinstitutionalisation processes, drawing on capability theory and socio-spatial theory. Pairing these theoretical frameworks holds the potential to develop innovative theoretical-conceptual and empirical knowledge on deinstitutionalisation. As such, the central research objective of the project is to develop empirically based theory on how social work can deal with deinstitutionalisation of residential care institutions.