Wiley
Wiley.com
Print this page Share

Disability

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2508-9
192 pages
January 2003, Polity
Disability (0745625088) cover image
For most of the twentieth century, people with disabilities have been regarded as ‘victims’ of their condition and a ‘burden’ on society. More recently, however, disabled people and their organizations across Europe and North America have challenged conventional explanations for their individual and collective disadvantage, calling for policy measures to change the image and status of disabled people in the Western world.


In this new book, Barnes and Mercer provide a concise and accessible introduction to the concept of disability. Drawing on a burgeoning ‘disability studies’ literature from around the world, and from a range of disciplinary perspectives, the authors explore the evolution of this concept and offer a wide-ranging critique of established academic, policy and professional orthodoxies. The book highlights disabled peoples’ exclusion and marginalization in key areas of social activity and participation across different historical and cultural contexts, such as family life and reproduction, education, employment, leisure, cultural imagery and politics.

The analysis concentrates on disability as a distinctive form of social oppression similar to that experienced by women, minority ethnic and ‘racial’ groups, and lesbians and gay men. Key issues addressed include: theorizing disability; historical and comparative perspectives; experiencing impairment and disability; professional and policy intervention in the lives of disabled people; disability politics, social policy and citizenship; and disability culture.


This will be essential reading for those studying sociology, social policy, social work, health studies, disability studies, and those in the therapy and nursing professions.

See More
1. Rethinking Disability.

2. Theorising Disability.

3. Patterns of Social Exclusion.

4. Bringing Impairment Back In?.

5. Culture Media and Representation.

6. The Politics of Disability.

7. Disabling Futures: Theory and Research.

Bibliography.

See More
Colin Barnes is Professor of Disability Studies and Geof Mercer is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Polity at the University of Leeds
See More


  • A concise and accessible introduction to current social science debates on disability.


  • Chronicles how disabled people and their organizations have challenged the conventional, individualistic medical type explanations for disabled people's individual and collective disadvantage.


  • Draws on a burgeoning ‘disability studies' literature from around the world, and from a diverse range of disciplinary perspectives.


  • Concentrates on disability as a distinctive form of social oppression similar to that experienced by women, minority ethnic and ‘racial' groups, and lesbians and gay men.


  • Wide-ranging critique of established academic, policy and professional orthodoxies.
See More
"In Disability, Barnes and Mercer raise the bar for any future discussions of the social model of disability. Their well-grounded work uses the social model to analyse the classic questions of the definition, production, representation, experience, stratification, exclusion, politics and globalization of disability. This timely book is a must read for students, scholars and activists."

Gary L. Albrecht, University of Illinois at Chicago

"This book is essential reading for all disability studies scholars. It is historically well-grounded and theoretically rigorous, carefully exploring theories of disability, impairment and the body. The nature of the social oppression experienced by disabled people is analysed, and disability is located in relation to gender, 'race' and social class. Like all good sociology, the book is highly accessible and an excellent read."

Sheila Riddell, University of Glasgow

See More

Related Titles

Back to Top