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.



Different approaches to understanding the body discussed in this chapter enable readers to call into question assumptions about the ‘givenness’ of the ‘natural body’ (Goodley 2011: 158). First, a historical view of ideas about the body helps problematise conventional understandings of impairment and disability.

Western thought has been profoundly influenced by Descartes. Writing in the seventeenth century, Descartes believed that the mind and the body are two distinct essences – the mind bestowing humanity, while the body is animal. While the mind is conceived as ‘an indivisible thinking substance’ (Shildrick 2002: 48), the body is regarded as determined by the laws of natural science, as the case which encloses the self: ‘I (am) a substance whose essence or nature is to be conscious and whose being ...

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