Cover image for Disability
Barnes, Colin, 1946-
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Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK : Polity Press ; Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishers, [2003]

Physical Description:
vi, 186 pages ; 22 cm.
Disability: a choice of models -- Disabling societies: domination and oppression -- Social oppression: patterns and social divisions -- Impairment, disability and the body -- Culture, media and representation -- The politics of disability: breaking down the barriers? -- Disability and development: global perspectives.
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HV1568 .B34 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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For most of the twentieth century, people with disabilities have been regarded as 'victims' of their condition and a 'burden' on society. More recently, however, disabled people and their organizations across Europe and North America have challenged conventional explanations for their individual and collective disadvantage, calling for policy measures to change the image and status of disabled people in the Western world.

In this new book, Barnes and Mercer provide a concise and accessible introduction to the concept of disability. Drawing on a burgeoning 'disability studies' literature from around the world, and from a range of disciplinary perspectives, the authors explore the evolution of this concept and offer a wide-ranging critique of established academic, policy and professional orthodoxies. The book highlights disabled peoples' exclusion and marginalization in key areas of social activity and participation across different historical and cultural contexts, such as family life and reproduction, education, employment, leisure, cultural imagery and politics.

The analysis concentrates on disability as a distinctive form of social oppression similar to that experienced by women, minority ethnic and 'racial' groups, and lesbians and gay men. Key issues addressed include: theorizing disability; historical and comparative perspectives; experiencing impairment and disability; professional and policy intervention in the lives of disabled people; disability politics, social policy and citizenship; and disability culture.

This will be essential reading for those studying sociology, social policy, social work, health studies, disability studies, and those in the therapy and nursing professions.

Author Notes

Colin Barnes is Professor of Disability Studies, Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds.

Table of Contents

1 Rethinking Disability
2 Theorising Disability
3 Patterns of Social Exclusion
4 Bringing Impairment Back In?
5 Culture Media and Representation
6 The Politics of Disability
7 Disabling Futures: Theory and Research