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Researching Disability Politics, Or, Some Problems with the Social Model in Practice

Researching Disability Politics, Or, Some Problems with the Social Model in Practice This article arises from a research project involving the disabled members' group in UNISON, and problematises the social model which explicitly undergirds the discourses and practices of this group. In abstract terms, there are dangers that the social model can be interpreted in a way which privileges some impaired identities over others, sanctions a separatist ghetto which cannot reach out to other groups of disabled and disadvantaged people, and weaves a tangled web around researchers who adhere to the emancipatory paradigm. In concrete terms, these dangers are explored with reference to the stories of impaired people who believe that they are excluded from the disabled members' group, the predicaments of ex-disabled and differently-disabled people in relation to the movement, and the culture of suspicion surrounding academics, particularly the 'non-disabled' researcher as would-be ally. It is argued that, whilst such identities and issues might appear to be 'marginal' ones in the sense of occurring at the boundary of disabled communities, disability politics and disability studies, they should not be 'marginalised' by disabled activists and academics, and indeed that they pose challenges to our collective identities, social movements, theoretical models and research paradigms which need to be addressed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Disability & Society Taylor & Francis

Researching Disability Politics, Or, Some Problems with the Social Model in Practice

Disability & Society , Volume 15 (1): 24 – Jan 1, 2000
24 pages

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References (69)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1360-0508
eISSN
0968-7599
DOI
10.1080/09687590025775
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article arises from a research project involving the disabled members' group in UNISON, and problematises the social model which explicitly undergirds the discourses and practices of this group. In abstract terms, there are dangers that the social model can be interpreted in a way which privileges some impaired identities over others, sanctions a separatist ghetto which cannot reach out to other groups of disabled and disadvantaged people, and weaves a tangled web around researchers who adhere to the emancipatory paradigm. In concrete terms, these dangers are explored with reference to the stories of impaired people who believe that they are excluded from the disabled members' group, the predicaments of ex-disabled and differently-disabled people in relation to the movement, and the culture of suspicion surrounding academics, particularly the 'non-disabled' researcher as would-be ally. It is argued that, whilst such identities and issues might appear to be 'marginal' ones in the sense of occurring at the boundary of disabled communities, disability politics and disability studies, they should not be 'marginalised' by disabled activists and academics, and indeed that they pose challenges to our collective identities, social movements, theoretical models and research paradigms which need to be addressed.

Journal

Disability & SocietyTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 1, 2000

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