How do we understand health in relation to society? What role does culture play in shaping our experiences of, and orientation to, health and illness? How do we understand medicine and medical treatment within a sociological framework?
Disability cannot be considered a universal category rooted in an impaired biological body. Indeed, what is considered a disability is culturally variable. Martha's [Page 77]Vineyard in Massachusetts, USA, is a famous example, where hereditary deafness was commonplace and normalized for almost two centuries until the early twentieth century (Groce, 1985). The picture is also complicated because disabled people can have impairments that are stable or progressive, and these can range from mild to severe, constant ...