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Sociology Essay on Models of Disability


Task: Write a sociology essay on how far do models of disability help our understanding of the lived experience of disability?


According to the investigation carried on this sociology essay, a disability includes the impairment in the mind or the body that makes it difficult for the individual with that condition to carry out the activity and interact across the world. There are different types of deviance affecting an individual such as visual impairment, hearing impairment, cognitive impairment, and motor impairment (Annamma et al. 2018). Although the individuals with disabilities are referred to in a single population, there are diverse groups of individuals with a wider range of needs where the disability of the individuals affects other members. According to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2021), it has been found that disability has three important dimensions such as the impairment, activity limitation, and restriction of the participation process. The sociological view of disability includes the considerable variations in the impairment experienced by a group of individuals who shares common conditions such as disadvantage, marginalization, and exclusion(Nasir and Efendi, 2018). This study will highlight Barnes and Oliver’s social models of disability that discusses the economic forces for the creation of disablement on the language and culture.

Disability is an ancient concept, that has emerged due to the increasing number of the affected individuals. In the medieval era, it has been found that disability is a punishment from God for one’s misbehaviour and sin. There existed different myths among the individuals and thus it has been found that individuals with a disability are stigmatized, feared, condemned, and abused (Nasir and Efendi, 2018). The report published by United Nations (2021) has estimated that almost 15% of the population across the world or 1 billion individuals are in a disabled condition. Further, more than 46% of the older adults above the age of 60 years suffers from a disability. There has been an increased rate of disability among older individuals due to the accumulation of health risks across the lifespan related to injury, chronic illness, and other diseases contributing to higher rates of disability (Nasir and Efendi, 2018). There has been the establishment of varied types of legislative accomplishment and the disability directives such as the establishment of the President’s Committee of the national employed physically handicapped week in 1947, the vocational rehabilitative amendment in 1950 as well as the Americans with the Disability Act, 1990 (United Nations, 2021). All these legislative accomplishments had different results with guaranteed equal opportunity for disabled individuals. The Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 have highlighted that there have been explicit references of the older individuals trying to end poverty, well-being, good health, economic growth, and decent work. With the increase in the life expectancy of the individuals, it has been found that the individuals with disability surviving in their old age does not contribute to the growth in population (United Nations, 2021).

Barnes's social model of disability has highlighted that disability studies are an internationally recognized academic discipline that raises the profile of disability issues in colleges and universities (Mehta and Myrskylä, 2017). The theoretical analysis of disability in the UK and USA are included in the political activities of disabled individuals in the 1960s and 1970s (Mehta and Myrskylä, 2017). The approach forwarded by Barnes has tried to shift the attention from the primacy of varied economic forces to the creation of disablement for the political benign on culture, the language, and the discourse (Allan et al. 2018). The individuals with a disability according to this social model tries to focus on the discourse role rather than the ideologies or the economy. Further, it has been found that disabled individuals, therefore, try to recast the disadvantageous minority as per the Us tradition and the writings.

The social model of disability highlighted by Oliver has laid focus on the genesis, articulation, and development of the social model of disability by the disabled individuals who reject the varied types of fundamentals (Oliver, 2019). Moreover, this model of Oliver has not denied the problem of disability as it is located surely in society. This is possible because it is not the individual limitations of varied kinds that are the causes of the problem but the failure of the society to tackle the services adequately ensuring the fulfilment of the needs of the disabled individuals (Oliver, 2019). Moreover, the varied consequences of failure have not been stressed upon the disabled individuals randomly but on a systematic basis who generally experience the failure as discrimination that is institutionalized within the society (Dirth and Branscombe, 2018). On the other hand, Oliver has also stated that doctors and disabled individuals must work in coordination to identify the root cause of disability. It is important to understand the implications of the social model and the power-sharing process that is considered to be suitable for the growth and the development of the disabled society(Dirth and Branscombe, 2018).

Finkelstein’s social model of disability has stated that disability among individuals is created based on how humans chose to construct the world. This social model of disability has been developed by Finkelstein through reversing the disempowerment that is generally experienced by disabled individuals by developing a hypothetical place for the culture and the physically structured wheelchair users only (Kazou, 2017). The model can be considered to be beneficial only for the abled body visitors who are socially disabled and thus they experience difficulty in navigating the environment that is developed for the wheelchair users. It can be said that Finkelstein’s fantasy would be applicable in the real world because disability is linked to social norms rather than the individual (Oliver, 2019). This is because disabled individuals prefer to speak in sign language irrespective of their hearing capacity as the most effective mode of communication. It is important to take careful attempts for the construction of an inclusive society without considering the hearing ability of the individuals (Oliver, 2019).

The social model of disability highlights the varied barriers, the exclusions in the society, and the negative attitude considering society as the most vital factor in enabling disabled individuals. However, it can be said that the sensory, physical, psychological, and intellectual variationsmight cause functional impairment and limitations thereby leading to disability unless the society has failed to consider the individuals irrespective of the individual differences (Berghset al. 2017). The social model of disability defines disability as a social construction. Disability can be considered to be a problem of the individual thereby considering it as a tragedy. Further, the social model perspective does not deny the effect of reality impairment nor the effect on themselves (Maruna, 2017). Moreover, disabled individuals are classified as normal and abnormal. This definition of disability can be understood as it includes the implication of the attitudinal, physical, social, and communication environment that changes and assists the disabled individuals with impairment to participate equally in societal affairs (Maruna, 2017).

The disabled people movement has encouraged and welcome individuals of all caste, gender, and age suffering from different types of impairment to be included in the societal aspects. This movement can be considered to be encouraging as it welcomes the individuals of different sections of the community to access the needs and join the account. On the other hand, it can be said that the formation of the international movement of disabled individuals provided the chance to the disabled individuals to share their experiences in the campaigns and thus learn from them (Santoso, 2019). Further, it has been found that different societies across the world have failed to consider the needs of disabled individuals, as well as the discrimination made against them,which needs to be tackled accordingly. The disability awareness campaign highlights the daily life activities of the individuals suffering from varied forms of disability which might be the struggle faced by the individual in using the bathroom or the public transport (Mehta and Myrskylä, 2017). The aim of all these disability campaigns includes the provision of simple education to the disabled individuals who are not aware of the challenges or the disability that is faced by them regularly. With the help of education, it becomes easier to develop positive changes in the minds of individuals (Santoso, 2019). The disability campaigns consider disability to be treated on urgent grounds as the denial of the opportunity and the access to the rights are provided only after the implementation of the campaign.

Therefore, it can be said that awareness and education of disabled individuals make society accessible for all individuals. Disability can be considered to be at the top of the impairment process thereby unnecessarily excluding and isolating the individuals from participating in society. The disabled individuals can be considered as the oppressed group in society and thus their impairment is to be considered in functional terms. The varied model of social disability assists in the reduction of the complex problems of disabled individuals by considering medical prevention and the other associated aspects. Moreover, from the perspective of a disabled individual, the social model approach can be considered to be progressive where reactionary measures are to be included. There has been emphasis laid on the social model of disability from the structured forces thereby laying implications on the families, the disabled individual’s and the general population. Therefore, it can be said that the disability models and theories are considered to address the varied social and economic deprivations that are generally encountered by disabled individuals across the world. ?

Allan, al. (2018)Narratives of participation among individuals with physical disabilities: A life-course analysis of athletes' experiences and development in parasport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 37, pp.170-178.

Annamma, S.A. et al. (2018)Disability critical race theory: Exploring the intersectional lineage, emergence, and potential futures of DisCrit in education. Review of Research in Education, 42(1), pp.46-71.

Berghs, M. et al. (2019)Do disabled people need a stronger social model: a social model of human rights? Disability & Society, 34(7-8), pp.1034-1039. Center for Disease Control and Prevention(2021) Disability and Health Overview. [online]. Available at 25 May 2021).

Dirth, T.P. and Branscombe, N.R. (2018)The social identity approach to disability: Bridging disability studies and psychological science. Psychological bulletin, 144(12), p.1300.

Kazou, K. (2017)Analysing the Definition of Disability in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: is it really based on a ‘SocialModel ‘approach? International Journal of Mental Health and Capacity Law, (23), pp.25-48.

Maruna, S. (2017)Desistance as a social movement. Irish Probation Journal, 14(1), pp.5-20.

Mehta, N. and Myrskylä, M. (2017)The population health benefits of a healthy lifestyle: life expectancy increased, and onset of disability delayed. Health Affairs, 36(8), pp.1495-1502.

Nasir, M.N.A. and Efendi, A.N.A.E. (2018)The dawn of a new episteme: Proposing the neo biopsychosocial understanding of disability. South East Asia Journal of Contemporary Business, Economics and Law, 17(5), pp.26-34.

Oliver, M. (2019)Activism and the academy: losing the ideological and material battles. Disability & Society, 34(7-8), pp.1028-1033.

Santoso, A.D. (2019)Social media campaigns on disability awareness: A content analysis of official government Twitter accounts. Life Span and Disability, 22, pp.95-112.

United Nations (2021)Department of Economic and Social Affairs Disability. [online]. Available at: 25 May, 2021)


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