Defining disability

The category disability is not fixed and absolute, but can be, and indeed has been, defined in a variety of different ways throughout history, within particular societies and in any given social context. The fact that definitions of disability are relative rather than absolute have led some sociologists in particular to conclude that disability can only be properly understood as a social construction.” (Oliver, 1989, p 6)

The term ‘disability,’ as it is commonly and professionally used, is an absolute category without a level or threshold. One is either disabled or not. One cannot be a little disabled any more than one can be a little pregnant.” (Davis 1995a, p 1)

Disability has been used as a rational pretext to justify discrimination against and exclude minority groups from mainstream activities throughout history. Continue reading “Defining disability”

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