In this article, Amy Boelé presents a conceptualization of community that challenges the goal of independence as an ultimate ideal. Building on in situ tensions within independence ideologies, she illustrates the contradictions that exist when the approach to achieving community access for individuals with developmental disabilities requires full independence. Such an approach serves as a kind of assimilation to the dominant, nondisabled group's practices, which brings about contradictions that maintain oppressive forces. Using excerpts from interviews and personal recollections, she theorizes how a reconceptualization of community might empower individuals with disabilities to be contributors to their communities. She argues against considering independence as the emancipatory opposition to institutionalization. She contends that true community, as a mutual site of unconditional giving and resisted oppression, is what counters discrimination, segregation, and control, rejecting the false dichotomy of independence and institutionalism.

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