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Disability Studies: What’s the Point?

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[Excerpt] While the content of these courses had much to offer in terms of furthering our understanding of the experience of ‘chronic illness’ and the ensuing economic and social outcomes in terms of daily living for disabled people and their families, the central focus always seemed to be either on the physical and psychological consequences of the condition, or the complexity of the relationship between the disabled individual and their social environment. ‘Disability’, usually defined as ‘functional limitation’, was caused by either: chronic illness/impairment or the complex interaction between the limitations of the body and/or mind, and society at large. The dominant ‘personal tragedy’ theory of disability was never seriously questioned and, with one or two notable exceptions, meaningful explanations for society’s responses to, and treatment of, people with impairments, whether real or ascribed, and ‘labelled’ disabled, were conspicuous by their absence.

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2003-09-04

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disability; disability studies; education; personal tragedy; theory

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