The experience of choice and control of people with psychosocial disability during the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme

A critical ethnographic study in two supported residential services in Victoria: PHD Project Liz Dearn

RMIT Researchers

  • Professor Penelope Weller
  • Paul Ramcharam, FSSI

Project Description

In the post-asylum era, supported residential services (SRS), share many of the features of ‘total institutions’ despite their difference in appearance to the high-walled and locked facilities of the past. They exemplify some elements that go towards culturally dividing practices that Foucault argues produce institutional existence (1982). A new policy intervention in Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), is premised on the object of enabling people with disability to exercise choice and control over their lives. Rational choice theory, on which the NDIS is premised, conceptualises the individual as a free and active agent in decision-making. However, a long history of institutional studies indicates that residents have limited choice and control over their lives.


  • Professor Lisa Brophy, Latrobe University



Key Words

Choice, control, human rights, NDIS, institutionalisation

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer