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May 2022

Medicine and the aesthetic invalidation of disabled people

Journal/Book: Disabil Soc. 2000; 15: Rankine Rd, Basingstoke Rg24 8Pr, Hants, England. Carfax Publishing. 555-568.

Abstract: Contemporary disability discourse is marked by a struggle between medical and social meanings and models. The latter reflects the aspirations and youthful radicalism of the disability movement, while the former regards itself as the legitimate voice of truth in all matters associated with bodily function and process. This paper argues that the battle lines between these two camps need not be redrawn. Despite hints to the contrary, the proposed extension of the social model to accommodate a sociology of impairment does not involve a rapprochement with the medical model. On the contrary, a sociological account of impairment seeks to augment the armoury of the social model by developing one of its weaknesses, namely the cultural critique of medicine. This paper examines some of the ways in which medicine has been involved in the 'aesthetic invalidation' of disabled people and proposes that 'geneticization' is an important current contributor to this form of disability discrimination.

Note: Article Hughes B, Glasgow Caledonian Univ, Sch Social Sci, City Campus, Cowcaddens Rd, Glasgow G4 0BA, Lanark, SCOTLAND

Keyword(s): IMPAIRMENT

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