The circle of vulnerability and the myth of choice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: People living with a disability (PWD) are often a marginalized vulnerable group who are economically and socially disadvantaged. This paper aims to explore the implementation of new social and financial policy reforms aimed at transforming the disability sector. Using the capabilities approach, the authors explore the experience of carers and evaluate how this sector may have become more exposed and vulnerable as a consequence of the new policy. 

 Design/methodology/approach: This is a qualitative study with two rounds of semi-structured interviews; at initial-phase (n = 18) and post-phase (n = 14). Thematic analysis was applied to the capabilities and vulnerabilities framework to categorize and analyze the interview data. 

Findings: The findings show that there are many ways PWD and carers are experiencing increased levels of vulnerability because of their capabilities. There is evidence of increased vulnerability in the intersections between PWD/carers’ inherent nature, the disruption to vital social relationships and conflicting values and interests of stakeholders and the complexity of situational policy changes. 

Practical implications: Practical implications developed from the findings include identifying ways the government can improve its social marketing communication strategies. They also highlight the importance of building effective social support networks and provide guidelines for measuring capacity building to address some of the underlying factors leading to vulnerability. 

Originality/value: This paper introduces into social marketing, the three-factor vulnerability framework, which conceptualizes the nature of vulnerability, and examines and evaluates the intersections of these factors in relation to the capabilities approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-506
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 08 May 2020


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