Opportunity House: Ethnographic Stories of Mental Retardation

Opportunity House: Ethnographic Stories of Mental Retardation

by Michael V. Angrosino
     
 

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Calling on a decade of participant observation at a residence for mentally retarded adults, anthropologist Michael V. Angrosino's riveting and de-mystifying account offers an insider's picture of the lives of the inhabitants of Opportunity House. Using the narrative device of a dozen fictional short stories told in the voices of various community members as well as… See more details below

Overview

Calling on a decade of participant observation at a residence for mentally retarded adults, anthropologist Michael V. Angrosino's riveting and de-mystifying account offers an insider's picture of the lives of the inhabitants of Opportunity House. Using the narrative device of a dozen fictional short stories told in the voices of various community members as well as that of the researcher, Angrosino weaves a life-histories approach to ethnography together with an innovative culture concept to tackle the complexities of representing marginalized subgroups. As opposed to traditional clinical or statistical studies, which have insufficiently conveyed the subjective and experiential perspectives of retarded people themselves, Angrosino presents an intimate and complex picture of a highly functioning community with its cast of entrepreneurs, bullies, victims, and do-gooders. This wonderfully readable and captivating account is therefore an important resource for those interested in mental illness and disability, as well as a model for those experimenting with forms of ethnographic writing.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Opportunity House is a collection of fictionalized stories about individuals who are classified as mentally retarded, written by an anthropologist who has conducted research and community service in a home for retarded adults in Florida. Angrosino is especially interested in the deinstitutionalization of the chronically mentally ill and their interactions in the wider society. His book is one of a series stressing experimental forms of qualitative writing that blur the boundaries between social science and the humanities. Because of the fictional quality of the stories, the volume is accessible to a wider readership than is usual for anthropological and ethnographic writing. Interspersed with the stories are helpful interviews with the author in which he explains his methods, insights, and perspectives.
— L. Beck, (Washington University)
Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol 3.4, November 2002 - Claudia L. Moreno
This is one of the few books in which people with mental retardation are presented as what they are: human beings....[Angrosino] not only presents the objective, but also the shared subjectivity of his experience and the recollection of the voices of individuals with mental retardation, recreating the stories in a "creative fiction" mode in order to protect the identity of his participants. The book is worth reading for those who want to understand the world of mental retardation and in doing so confront their own humanity face to face.
CHOICE - L. Beck
Opportunity House is a collection of fictionalized stories about individuals who are classified as mentally retarded, written by an anthropologist who has conducted research and community service in a home for retarded adults in Florida. Angrosino is especially interested in the deinstitutionalization of the chronically mentally ill and their interactions in the wider society. His book is one of a series stressing experimental forms of qualitative writing that blur the boundaries between social science and the humanities. Because of the fictional quality of the stories, the volume is accessible to a wider readership than is usual for anthropological and ethnographic writing. Interspersed with the stories are helpful interviews with the author in which he explains his methods, insights, and perspectives.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781461647614
Publisher:
AltaMira Press
Publication date:
12/02/1997
Series:
Ethnographic Alternatives , #2
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
232
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

James Peacock
Michael Angrosino has a brilliant and prolific perceptiveness equaled by few. It is right that his brilliance should serve to distill fascination in the lives of those to whom most of us fail to devote such acuity. -- (From the Foreword by James Peacock)

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