Presenting fully integrative text covering disability from a variety of disciplines

This innovative text first reviews existing theories, then sets forth a new viewpoint that incorporates elements from disability studies, sociology, human services, rehabilitation counseling, and public health. Authors Elizabeth DePoy and Stephen French Gilson explore the history of disability with a focus on both Western and non-Western cultures, examine the historical conceptions of disability and how they have affected the lives and civil rights of the disabled, and explore a wide range of both classic and new and emerging theories. The book concludes with a section on application of theory to practice and policy in the professional and public realm and the recommendation of a socially just community.

Environmental Explanations

Environmental explanations

In this chapter, we delve into disability explained through environmental theories, or those that describe the environmental element of behavior, appearance, and experience, and explain these human phenomena as a function of environmental influences. Before discussion, application to, and analysis of disability, we first clarify the meaning of environment.

A majority of definitions of the term environment depict it as a surrounding space or context in which a being exists or activity occurs. In these traditional definitions reflecting Enlightenment era thinking, environments are separate from the beings that inhabit or perform within them. More recently, however, postmodern fields such as technology, new media, and embodiment have redefined environments as “the entire set of conditions under which one operates,” broadening the definition from a ...

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