Disability and Social Change: A South African Agenda by Brian Watermeyer, Leslie Swartz, Theresa Lorenzo, Marguerite

By Brian Watermeyer, Leslie Swartz, Theresa Lorenzo, Marguerite Schneider, Mark Priestley

Representing wide engagement with incapacity concerns in South Africa, this robust volume discusses such concerns as theoretical techniques to and representations of incapacity, governmental and civil responses to incapacity, points of schooling referring to the oppression and liberation of disabled humans, social safety for disabled humans, the complicated politics permeating service-provision relationships, and attention of incapacity in human areas. Firmly positioned in the social version of incapacity, this assortment resonates powerfully with modern pondering and learn within the incapacity box.

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Extra info for Disability and Social Change: A South African Agenda

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The traditional view within social science and medicine was to assume that the social disadvantage experienced by disabled people was an individual problem caused by impairment. If the problem was an individual one, then the most appropriate social response was either to correct the impairment or to help the person ‘come to terms’ with their assumed disadvantage, by negotiating different (less valued) social roles. Everything began from impairment and biological difference. It was the biological deficit that caused the restriction of activities that resulted in a loss of normal social roles.

Now, of crucial importance is the assertion that ideas and images of disabled people have, in many cultures, become attached to these unwanted parts of human experience. In other words, disabled people have, in many societies, come to symbolise the most damaged, undesirable, shameful and unwanted parts of our humanity which we all bear within us (Marks, 1999; Murphy, 1995; Shakespeare, 1994). When we cannot manage to consciously ‘hold’, or tolerate, parts of our emotional experience, we tend to manage the situation by experiencing our feelings through others.

Other significant North American journals include the Journal of Disability Policy Studies and, more recently, the Review of Disability Studies. Amongst the European journals that have adopted a more critical and social perspective on disability are the French journal Handicap: Revue de Sciences Humaines et Sociales and the Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research. However, there remains a conspicuous absence of new disability writings in the mainstream literature from majority world perspectives or addressing the issues facing disabled people in the countries of the South.

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