An independent living residential setting for severely physically disabled adults was studied through overt observation methods for twenty-two months. The purpose was observation of residents' council actions and expressions of group interests. The council displayed several phases of political structure and behavior. These phases were related to staff and administrative considerations as well as the residents emerging demonstrations of self-empowerment at the group level. The capacity for selfadvocacy emerges as a dynamic enterprise which is clearly related to the structure and interests of the service agency.

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