“Opening Conditions for Possibilities” – Wieslaw Antosz transforms practice with people with intellectual disabilities through the works of Michel Foucault

Wieslaw Antosz 1

Wieslaw Antosz 1

At the University of Lower Silesia, Wieslaw Antosz introduced his doctoral dissertation supervised by EDiTE professor, Lotar Rasinski, Constructing the Subjectivity of People with Intellectual Disabilities from the Perspective of Michel Foucault’s Philosophy to EDiTE students. Dr. Antosz spoke about the deep impact that the works of Michel Foucault, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Chantal Mouffe had on transforming his own practice of working with people with mental and intellectual disabilities. Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, he named as key literature to changing his thinking based on the question of what were the conditions for something to come into being? Foucauldian methodology of archaeology and genealogy made him see the logic of an institution. You needed to look at institutions from the distance, from the outside and investigate in the question of how has that which is become possible, he explained. Resulting from this, he thought of special pedagogy literature as knowledge of what was possible, of how people with disabilities were constructed based on the language that the discipline offered. Therefore, his approach would build on opening conditions for possibilities for people with disabilities. Contextualizing his philosophical work for us, Wieslaw explained that he had opened protected households in which people with intellectual disabilities could live free from the control of non-disabled people. His practice deeply rooted in critical theory, he emphasized, intended to restore the subjectivity of the individual that was impaired by the gaze of the non-disabled onto the disabled body. Wieslaw concluded from his PhD dissertation that what was essential to his practice was to show people with disabilities care for the self instead of suiting imaginations of who and how they should be according to others.

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