Diaconia (Sep 2021)

Grounded Theology and Disability in Western Kenya

  • Beatrice Lukalo,
  • Loreen Maseno

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 1
pp. 21 – 40


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Kenya still faces challenges in protecting the rights of persons living with disabilities. Although the government has come up with policies to protect the rights of persons living with disabilities, sociocultural beliefs and perceptions of disability have remained a barrier leading to discrimination and stigmatization of persons living with disabilities. To describe these cultural beliefs and perceptions in Western Kenya, this paper focuses on methodological issues engaging African realities relating to disability. It highlights persons living with a disability in Western Kenya to take into account theological engagements in social-scientific integrated approaches. This paper explores the usefulness of grounded theology, with the goal of engaging creative and original findings on living with disability in present-day Western Kenya and demonstrating the potential of theological creativity from the bottom-up, as opposed to a top-down approach. Methodologically, this paper emphasizes how grounded theology is compatible with grounded theory as a method for discovering hidden patterns and meanings and as a way to unearth stories informing the everyday lives of persons living with a disability. In this paper, grounded theology therefore relates the sociocultural beliefs and misconceptions to the transcendent, as generated from fieldwork on disability. Further, it demonstrates creative explorations of approaches informed by understandings of persons living with disabilities in Western Kenya.