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.
Chapter 24: Impairment
Identified within the social model as ‘the loss or limitation of physical, mental or sensory function on a long-term or permanent basis’ (DPI 1981, in Rieser 2008: 24), or as ‘a medically classified biophysiological condition’ (Barnes and Mercer 2010: 11), the subject of impairment has been at the centre of controversial debates in Disability Studies. One area of contention, between social modelists and feminists, has been around the extent to which impairment is an appropriate focus for the discipline, while postmodernists have questioned the descriptive value of the term itself.
An ‘orthodox’ early position held that to include impairment as a focus of Disability Studies would be to undermine the social model, allowing critics to argue that disability has all along, after all, been an individual ...