Social Role Valorisation is a term that is used a lot, but what does it actually mean? Essentially it is the understanding that helping a devalued person to find or keep a valued social role is the most important goal.
So what is a valued role? Everyone has a role. We are all the son or daughter of someone. However, it is not just our relationships that define our role in society. People who are devalued by society, such as those with a disability, are often viewed as a burden on society. Western society typically values:
- Wealth, material possessions
- Heath, beauty, fitness
- Youth, newness
- Independence, competence and intelligence
- Achievement and productivity
- Choice and individualism
If you are a devalued person, you may not have all of the things that western society values. Therefore, you may be devalued by society and have further difficulty gaining a role in society.
Social Role Valorisation talks about how we can help people that have been devalued by society to have a good life. That is, a pleasant and meaningful life. There are many major role domains;
- Education and Work
- Leisure and Interest
Within each domain there are positive and negative roles. For example, a positive household role could be a land owner and a negative one could be someone who is homeless. Roles are critical, they address the belonging, acceptance and contribution of people. Positive roles can be a very strong defence against being socially devalued.
Roles are what define a person’s place in society. Someone can be present in society, where they see others and are seen. They can also be a participant in society, where they know others and are known. However, to belong in society they will miss others and be missed.
A deliberate pause can help us to stop and think about how we have made a difference in the life of someone who society typically devalues.
For more information on Social Role Valorisation there is an amazing handbook ‘Valued Roles for All; The Keys to a Good Life’ which is available: