This textbook brings together a wide range of expert voices from the field of disability studies and the disabled people's movement to tackle the essential topics relevant to this area of study. From the outset disability is discussed from a social model perspective, demonstrating how future practice and discourse could break down barriers and lead to more equal relationships for disabled people in everyday life.

An interdisciplinary and broad-ranging text, the book includes 50 chapters on topics relevant across health and social care. Reflective questions and suggestions for further reading throughout will help readers gain a critical appreciation of the subject and expand their knowledge.

This will be valuable reading for students and professionals across disability studies, health, nursing, social work, social care, social policy and sociology.

The Historical Construction of Disability

The Historical Construction of Disability

The historical construction of disability

If we acknowledge all social knowledge as historically and culturally specific (Burr 2003), we understand that the way we look at things is structured by both the times and places in which we find ourselves. Theories that underpin the knowledge, assumptions and practice of professionals working with disabled people, for example, cannot be regarded as ‘true’, fixed-for-ever descriptions, but must be recognised as having been produced within specific social contexts and as reflecting specific social interests.

While people with impairments have been part of every human society since the beginning of recorded history, disabled people have only been around for about the past two hundred years or so. If this statement sounds contentious or confusing, a historical ...

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