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Kommunikative Praktiken bei der Errichtung einer Vormundschaft oder Beistandschaft - Verstehens- und Partizipationschancen für Menschen mit Behinderungen

English title Communicative practices in the establishment of guardian- or deputyship - creating opportunities to understand and participate for individuals with disabilities
Applicant Antener Gabriela
Number 177408
Funding scheme NRP 76 Welfare and coercion
Research institution Institut Integration und Partizipation Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (without UTE) - FHNW
Main discipline Social work
Start/End 01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022
Approved amount 499'984.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Social work
Swiss history

Keywords (7)

communicative practices; deputyship in vulnerable adult protection; persons with disabilities; authorities communication; communication vulnerable persons; access to fair procedures; participation

Lay Summary (German)

Nur wer versteht und verstanden wird kann in Vormundschafts- oder Erwachsenenschutzverfahren die eigenen Interessen vertreten. Ein interdisziplinäres Team untersucht anhand von Befragungen, Akten und Beobachtungen wie Behörden Menschen mit einer Behinderung in die Verfahren miteinbeziehen.
Lay summary

Vormundschafts- oder Erwachsenenschutzmassnahmen werden in einem behördlichen Verfahren errichtet. Diese Verfahren werden schriftlich und mündlich durch die Behörde geführt. Die Gestaltung dieser Kommunikation ist zentral, denn durch sie werden die Betroffenen als aktiv Teilnehmende in das Verfahren einbezogen oder davon ausgeschlossen. Das Projekt soll ein vertieftes Verständnis der kommunikativen Praktiken in Verfahren mit Menschen mit einer Behinderung im Zeitraum von 1970 bis heute schaffen. Dazu befragen wir Betroffene und Behördenmitglieder, sichten Akten und analysieren Anhörungen. Der Wandel der kommunikativen Praktiken wird reflektiert in Bezug auf die Entwicklung der Fachdiskurse. Ein Leitfaden für die Kommunikation zwischen Behörde und Menschen mit Behinderungen wird erarbeitet.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.06.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Project Ritzmann, UZH Switzerland (Europe)
- Exchange of personnel
Center for Applied Linguistics, University of Neuchâtel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Project Koch, FHNW Olten Switzerland (Europe)
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Atypical Interaction Conference Poster Participation of people with disabilities in their procedures of establishing a deputy-/guardianship 17.06.2019 Helsinki, Finland Bossert Markus; Girard-Groeber Simone; Antener Gabriela; Galle Sara; Lichtenauer Annette;


This project addresses basic questions relative to the former and current working practice of authorities in procedures of establishing guardian-/deputyship for adults. Welfare measures must be adequate to the client's situation; well-funded and tailored to his or her specific needs for help. Individuals are granted with the right to a fair procedure. This implies that authorities comply with the legal provisions of the right to be heard as well as the right of access to information. Thus, they face the task of enabling clients to understand and participate in their procedure within the scope of their individual capabilities. This issue is of particular importance for communication-vulnerable groups (Blackstone & Pressman, 2016); for example, people with intellectual, learning, or sensory disabilities affecting their communication. In order to prevent from further processes of marginalisation, it is key for actors involved in procedures of adult protection that they put at use communicative practices that are adequate to the clients' communicative resources. The question arises to what extent clients with disabilities and special communication needs are provided with the opportunity to act as full persons and to participate in the procedure they are involved in. The planned project sets out to address this question by investigating the communicative practices by means of which the procedure is accomplished, as precisely these practices may rather promote or hinder clients' understanding and participation. In order to investigate the abovementioned issues, we propose an interdisciplinary examination of the reported and actual communication as well as documented communication between employees involved in the establishment of guardian-/deputyship (members of authorities, persons in charge of the official clarification process) and their clients presenting specific communication needs. The project sets out to gain a diachronic perspective by combining different data collection procedures and methods and by investigating both past and current practices. The focus will be on those procedures that culminate in the establishment of guardian-/deputyship. The concrete objectives of this study are: identify and describe former communicative practices in written and spoken communication, identify and describe current communicative practices in written and spoken communication, analyse the observed communicative practices from 1970 to today against the background of both the legislative and paradigmatic changes. We specifically ask what communicative practices are promoting or hindering clients’ opportunities for participation. The question will be addressed on the basis of four different datasets which contain data from periods between 1970 and today. By means of this diachronic perspective we show whether and how the communicative practices changed over time, and whether current practices do justice to the implemented rights and recent conceptions of disability in Swiss society. The project combines insights and qualitative methods from history, social sciences and linguistics (Historical Discourse Analysis, Grounded Theory and Conversation Analysis). The aim is to gain a multifaceted perspective on the communicative practices, including both data of actual communicative practices and reports on how communication is viewed and experienced. Thereby, results from this project contribute to the understanding of past practices, as well as the rehabilitation of concerned people. Furthermore, gained empirical insights will allow an empirically-based assessment of real-life practices as fulfilling legal requirements, and thereby they will feed into important current claims on equal chances to participation. In addition to the empirical results, an essential outcome of the project is the drafting of guidelines for communication in official situations (such as adult protection procedures).