Disability and identity

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Medical and social model of disability

Medical- This is a persons inability to participate in a range of activities like washing, cleaning that the rest of us take for granted.

Social- View developed by disabled people themselves who argued that biological disability was less important than social disability. Oliver argues 'it is society which disables physically impaired people' because disabled people are held from the rest of society by stereotyped views.

Disability as a social construct- Some sociologists have said we are all physically impaired in some way, but not classed as 'disabled' because society classifies what is disabled and not.

The disabled identity and independance- The disabled movement is also a citical concept of 'independance' as an aspect of disability. Marsh and Keating point out that very few of us are actually really independant.

Disabled identity and capitalism- Marxists like Finklestein have said the bad views towards the disabled could be because of capital views of working meing a source of power. Argues pre industrial society did not have this stigma.

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Learned helplessness, media & prejudice

Learned Helplessness

Watson argues that the perception of disabled people as useless has a negative impact and make the disabled actually feel like that. It's a self fufilling prophecy. Scott's study of blind people found that the blind develop a 'blind personality' because they internalize the experts view on their condition. This is learned helplessness, which means they have to rely on sighted people for help.

Mass Media representation of disabled- It is shown in a negative way. Longmore suggests disabled people are portrayed as monsters, inhuman asn dependant on others. These reinforce cultural stereotypes.

Prejuice and discrimination- it effects them in several ways.

  • Segreagated from able bodied schools, employment discrimination so they are more likely to be on benifits.
  • Brown says they may be seen as pervents or innocents
  • Kallianes and Rubenfeld argue women with disabilities are discrimianated against, proffesionals think they should be discouraged from being mothers etc.
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Disabled identity and resistance and recent develo

Social Model of disability should be promoted stressing independance, choice and autonomy for disabled people. They think the state should involve disable friendly enviroments and sould adress prejucie against tboth the limitations caused by physihe disabled.

Recent studies suggest that the disabled identity may be underpinned by the social model of disability. Antle found children with disability do not find themselves different than children without disability.

Recent developments- Critiques of the social model have recently appeared. However, there are biological factors such s pain mental issures and so on which make their social life unpleasent and hard. The disabled identity is probably then made up of physical impairment of the body and mind and limitations of the social enviroment shaped by negative and stereoytypical attitudes towards disability.

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