Jag vill också vara en ängel : om upplevelser av delaktighet i Svenska kyrkan hos personer med utvecklingsstörning

Sammanfattning: The aim of this PhD dissertation is to study experiences of participation among persons with intellectual disability in the Church of Sweden. The study seeks to identify social processes which are significant in the formulation of experiences. It is based on participant observations combined with interviews with 10 persons who have an intellectual disability. The analysis is rooted in the idea of symbolic interactionism and illustrates that participation is understood in terms of friendship and belonging. More superficial contacts, so-called weak ties, are also important. The analysis also illustrates that one reason for people seeking to participate in the Church is a longing to be seen as “normal”. This is so even though several of the interviewees told of troublesome experiences of stigmatization within the context of the Church. Symbols and rites also have major significance, and the study illustrates that low intellectual capacity does not have to be a hindrance when it comes to understanding the intellectual meaning of such rites and the symbols. The study further shows that significant others can have a crucial influence on experiences of participation in the Church.  Several of the informants were only allowed to participate in the Church if it was in accordance with the will of their parents and/or staff, so-called bounded empowerment.

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