Sociology of Disability
The debates within the sociology of disability include many theoretical and interpretive frameworks that have been utilized to examine the social construction of disability. What constitutes sociology of disability? What has been the social history of disability?
How does our society read the DISABLED body? How have liberal theories explained disability? We need a conceptual map of the sociology of disability to understand disability.
"One of the most crucial factors in the deconstruction of disability is the change of perspective that causes us to look in the environment for both the source of the problem and the solutions." - Wendell.
Disability is a disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by a contemporary social organization which takes little account of people who have physical impairments and thus excludes them from participation in the mainstream of social activities. - Michael Oliver.
"Disability is socially constructed by such factors as expectations of performance, the physical and social organization of societies on the basis of a young, non-disabled, 'ideally shaped,' healthy adult male paradigm of citizens, the failure or nonwillingness to create ability among citizens who do not fit the paradigm, and cultural representations " - Wendell.
The social model of disability "does not deny the problem of disability but locates it squarely within society. It is not individual limitations, of whatever kind, which are the cause of the problem but society's failure to provide appropriate services and adequately ensure the needs of disabled people are fully taken into account in its social organizations the consequences of this failure do not simply and randomly fall on individuals but systematically upon disabled people as a group who experience this failure as discrimination institutionalized throughout society." - Michael Oliver.
"Until the 1940s, a significant proportion of the inhabitants of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts was deaf. The whole community knew sign language, and hearing people used it even among themselves. Sign language became a natural and ordinary form of communication. People with impaired hearing worked, married, and were not thought of as separate, significantly different, or as "special." They were, in short, not considered handicapped. - Freund and McGuire in Health, Illness, and the Social Body.