Theoretical Strategies to Define Disability

From "The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability", Edited by David T. Wasserman and Adam Cureton. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190622879.013.3

19 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2019 Last revised: 12 May 2020

See all articles by Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry

McGill University - Faculty of Law; McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy

Date Written: June 1, 2019

Abstract

The concept of disability is used across a variety of contexts to describe different phenomena and prescribe distinct behaviors or norms. The definitional challenge is not only that the category of “disabled people” is heterogenous, but also that what “disability” should denote, primarily or exclusively, is controversial among both theorists and practitioners. This conceptual breadth is far from innocuous: disability models have the potential to influence public policies, culture, and interactions by suggesting what rights, duties, and social expectations disability entails. Instead of examining those various definitions and arguing in favor of one, this chapter considers the unavoidable cultural polysemy of disability and contrasts the appeal and limitations of the main theoretical strategies to manage it. Some disability models deny that competing understandings of disability are valid, others seek to determine procedures through which disabilities will be defined and assessed, and still others conceptualize disability in a more culturally malleable way.

Keywords: disability, models, definitions, culture, polysemy, heterogeneity

Suggested Citation

Beaudry, Jonas-Sébastien, Theoretical Strategies to Define Disability (June 1, 2019). From "The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability", Edited by David T. Wasserman and Adam Cureton. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190622879.013.3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3399016

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada

McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy ( email )

Charles Meredith House
1130 Pine Avenue West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1A3
Canada

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
25
Abstract Views
204
PlumX Metrics