Critically evaluate the Medical Model and the Social Model of Disability Essay Sample

Critically measure the Medical Model and the Social Model of Disability. as applied to people with learning difficulties/disabilities. Your reply should turn to how these theoretical accounts have developed over clip.

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Within the essay consideration should be given to the topographic point of intelligence and labelling within each theoretical account.

Besides discourse how each theoretical account affects the possibilities for inclusion amongst people with learning difficulties/disabilities.

Submissions must include Harvard citing.

‘Disabled’ people are thought of by society as being inferior ( Bochel et al. . 2005 ) ; this essay will reflect upon some of the ways in which inequality for people with larning difficulties/disabilities has been explained over clip. This construct of favoritism can be explored by oppugning what is meant by the term ‘disability’ . with mention to the thoughts broached by both the medical and societal theoretical accounts of disablement. Consequently. this essay will take to measure how each theoretical account has affected the possibilities for inclusion amongst people with learning difficulties/disabilities.

There are diverse positions on what the term ‘disability’ really means. The medical theoretical account was predominately used to specify and explicate the term during the twentieth Century. It supported the thought that the handicapped individual was the job. non society. This theoretical account is sometimes referred to as the ‘individual model’ . because the job is deemed to be with the person. In contrast. the societal theoretical account of disablement implies that it is society and an unaccessible environment which disables people. non their damage ( Oliver. 1983 ) .

Medical accounts of disablement are supported by ‘science’ . with the eugenics motion basically underpinning the medical attack to disablement. The eugenics epoch. with the development of intelligence proving. was when disablement was ab initio ‘construed as an unwanted divergence from normal existence’ ( Snyder and Mitchell. 2006: 03 ) . Eugenicists seen handicapped people as a menace to society. and their purpose was to better the human race by forestalling the reproduction of ‘defectives’ . by sterilizing and segregating those classified persons from society ( Barnes. 1991 ) . The societal categorizations which arose from the motion have had a profound impact on how society positions persons with damages today. The medical profession fostered such negative perceptual experiences of disablement from the eugenics motion. with the medical linguistic communication of disablement shortly going the societal linguistic communication of abuse and ridicule. This later became a cultural tool constructed by society. used to devaluate and marginalize specific groups of people ( Christensen and Rizvi. 1996 ) . The medical position of disablement has hence besides highlighted that those with an damage are different. with society besides emphasizing this fact.

With society esteeming the sentiments of those with position. it became absolutely acceptable to except people with larning difficulties/disabilities from any determinations made about their lives. Thompson ( 2000 ) implies that by pulling on a ‘medical model’ attack. and valuing the sentiments of an ‘expert’ . there is a deficiency of inclusion of the individual. with determinations frequently being made without mention to the person concerned. In bend. devaluating this group of people from the remainder of society. and ignoring any sentiments they may hold.

Social theory has besides been known to mirror the medical position with respects to handicapped people. with such persons being seen as ‘less than whole’ ( Dartington et Al. 1981:126 ) . and unable to conform to society. Such negative intensions. has resulted in disablement being perceived as a ‘personal tragedy’ ( Oliver. 1983 ) . Disabled critics discarded such bing histories in the societal scientific disciplines as being irrelevant. ‘theoretically backward’ ( Abberley. 1987: 5 ) and resolutely ‘disablist’ ( Oliver. 1996b ) . However. the 1960s and 1970s analysed disablement as a signifier of societal aberrance and illness ( Barnes and Mercer. 2003 ) . Peoples were by and large scared of those who did non conform to the norm. hence. handicapped people were by and large stigmatised. with society sing disablement as ‘dysfunctional’ ( Topliss. 1982:112 ) . As a consequence. handicapped people were taken off from society. and formed the organic structure of establishments and the similar.

Industrialization had a immense consequence on the lives of people with damages. with medical accounts exciting the development of proviso for handicapped people. which saw them being segregated from their communities into establishments such as infirmaries. refuges and workhouses. This had a significant impact on how society viewed people with damages. with Goffman ( 1961 ) connoting that they were ‘put away’ for their ain good. and to halt them from being a load on society. In other words ; out of sight. out of head.

In add-on to this proviso. the medical theoretical account attack is frequently used by authoritiess. and societal policies are frequently based on informations aggregation that has taken this attack. Oliver and Barnes ( 1998 ) knock the usage of such informations aggregation. and they put frontward the thought that sorting and numbering handicapped people. with mention to the medical theoretical account. is a false and unequal manner to specify ‘disability’ . They base their statement on the cardinal point that ‘disability’ is a societal concept. Besides underscoring that the usage of the medical attack to help policy-making is inappropriate. and can besides be misdirecting. As an option. Oliver and Barnes propose that societal policy shapers would derive more by look intoing the impact that ‘disabling environments’ have on people with damages. Therefore looking more at the societal facets and mensurating the extent to which society is disenabling people with damages.

Disabled people themselves have fought for their rights since the late sixtiess. with the disablement rights motion emerging as a consequence of their dissatisfaction with mainstream political parties and policy-makers. This brought about a demand for equal rights and full citizenship. and besides for ‘disablement’ to be defined as a societal procedure. instead than a medical one ( Frankenstein. 1981 ) . In the sentiment of Oliver ( 1990 ) the motion may claim to be the ‘new societal movement’ ( NSM ) . or more negatively. a ‘liberation struggle’ ( Shakespeare. 1993 ) .

The Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation ( UPIAS ) implied in 1976 that people who have a physical damage are frequently excluded from mainstream societal activities because of society. therefore disenabling them. Consequently. it is non their damage that disables them. but an environment which is unaccessible and prejudiced. In 1983. Mike Oliver referred to this construct as the societal theoretical account of disablement.

The societal theoretical account was massively of import in the British disablement motion. It identified a new attack which enabled people with damages to undertake society and its ‘disabling’ environment. with the prevailing focal point being barrier remotion. Whereby. if people with damages are disabled by society. so the precedency is to level these disenabling barriers. in order to advance inclusion. Shakespeare and Watson ( 2001: 10-11 ) endorse that ‘rather than prosecuting a scheme of medical remedy. or rehabilitation. it is better to prosecute a scheme of societal change’ . as implied by the societal theoretical account of disablement.

The societal theoretical account has besides impacted on handicapped people themselves. for illustration. Liz Crow ( 1996 ) states that ‘social theoretical account of disablement has enabled me to face. survive and even overcome infinite state of affairss of exclusion and discrimination’ . Disabled people began to believe of themselves in a wholly new manner. and became empowered to call up. organise. and work for equal citizenship. Rather than the humbling procedure of trusting on charity or good will. handicapped militants could now demand their rights.

This raised consciousness of exclusion and favoritism stimulated statute law. such as the Disability Discrimination Act ( DDA ) in 1995. Despite its good connotations. a medical attack has been used to assist specify this. Although the act was developed to assist handicapped people feel to a greater extent accepted by society. it has been widely viewed by disablement groups as being ‘confusing. contorted and unsatisfactory’ ( Gooding. 1996 ) .

In 1980. the World Health Organisation ( WHO ) put across the construct of an International Classification of Impairments. Disabilities. and Handicaps ( ICIDH ) . Based on the medical theoretical account. this attack to disablement was favoured by medical sociologists. From being involved in the creative activity of this construct. medical sociologist Mike Bury has defended its usage in the field known as ‘the sociology of chronic unwellness and disability’ ( Bury. 1997 ) . Bury has been one of the few sociologists to openly prosecute with the thoughts brought approximately by the societal theoretical account of disablement. even so. he finds small value in them. and states that its chief job is that it is ‘oversocialised’ ( Bury. 2000: 1074 ) . He brings to illume the fact that chronic unwellnesss such as shot. arthritis and multiple induration do beyond doubt curtail and disable people. and that it is non society which imposes these limitations. Therefore. he feels the societal theoretical account has non produced a coherent attack which can turn to the existent practical demands of handicapped people ( ibid. . 2000 ) . In bend. by non sing the debilitating world of chronic unwellnesss. the societal theoretical account has accordingly excluded this group of people from the class of ‘disability’ .

Both the societal theoretical account and the handicapped people’s motion have often been criticised for neglecting to turn to diverseness. Disabled people’s administrations must see the broad scope of persons and groups included in the disablement class. This includes. for illustration. those with a acquisition trouble. mental wellness status. or even people with a chronic or life baleful unwellness. Shakespeare ( 1992 ) sees the individuality political relations of the disablement motion as one of its cardinal weaknesss. With the overriding focal point of the motion being geared more towards advancing inclusion and equal rights for those with physical or centripetal damages. it has failed to see the sentiments of others included in the disablement class.

In add-on. Shakespeare ( 1992 ) suggests that the achievement of the disablement rights motion has been to divide the connexion between the physical organic structure and the peculiar societal fortunes of people with damages. and to concentrate on what truly disables people. This being favoritism and bias. ‘To reference biological science. to acknowledge hurting. to face our damages. has been to put on the line the oppressors prehending on grounds that disablement is “really” about physical restriction after all’ ( ibid. . 1992: 40 ) . He seems to bespeak that there is an intimation of uncertainty over disablement being contrived entirely by society. which is non dissimilar to Bury’s ‘oversocialised’ position of the societal model’ ( Bury 2000: 1074 ) .

Even although. the societal theoretical account has been criticised for concentrating chiefly on those with physical or centripetal damages. it has been said that the same rules. with respects to favoritism. can be applied to people with larning troubles ( Shakespeare. 1998 ) . However. as indicated antecedently. Shakespeare ( ibid. ) does besides show concerns about where those with larning troubles stand in footings of the societal theoretical account. along with uncertainness over why larning trouble appears inconsequential in relation to the disablement motion. More frequently than non. the term ‘disability’ . when used in disablement literature and the similar. refers to those with physical or centripetal damages and ignores the experiences of people with larning troubles.

Often protagonists of the disablement rights motion and the societal theoretical account believe that damage can be removed by pull stringsing society’s positions and the environment. When stressing this statement. it has been noted that by concentrating on a physical damage which is seeable. creates more of an impact ( Swain et al. . 2004 ) . This may be why rational and developmental damages have frequently been overlooked in this context. By giving them more consideration. may besides accordingly highlight the fact that damage and disablement may so be linked. therefore endangering the doctrine behind the societal theoretical account and the chief push of the disablement motion.

Despite this. there are those who have strong positions on the negative intervention of people with damages. and thin to a great extent towards advancing the societal theoretical account. where it is society and an unaccessible environment that causes disability. non impairment ( Oliver. 1983 ) . Vic Finkelstein is a handicapped clinical psychologist and an militant for disablement rights. and besides a laminitis member of Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation ( UPAIS ) . Finkelstein ( 1980 ) contends that handicapped people are discriminated against ; therefore doing it hard for them to derive entree to good instruction and employment chances. They encounter stigma. bias and societal subjugation. He and others with similar beliefs have fought to redefine disablement in footings of societal subjugation. Finkelstein states that society should alter as the societal system fails to take into consideration the histories of persons with damages. He argues that handicapped people and handicapped administrations should be involved in the determination doing procedure in the planning of services such as public assistance. lodging. province benefits. instruction. conveyance. employment and entree to public services. He. like others who support the positions of the societal theoretical account. would wish to see the remotion of all disenabling barriers ( ibid. . 1980 ) .

As antecedently discussed. this proposal by Finkelstein is non every bit straightforward as some militants may claim it to be. as the term ‘disability’ relates to such a broad group of people. Similarly. the thoughts of ‘celebrating diversity’ are non every bit simple as they seem. as ‘disability is a much more complicated issue than recent societal theoretical accounts can let for’ ( Norwich. 2000: 111 ) . In footings of psychological science. Norwich ( ibid. ) besides indicates that all psychologists. to an extent. conform to a societal theoretical account manner of thought. saying ‘Who doesn’t believe in a societal theoretical account? ’ ( ibid. . 2000: 111 ) . He sees the divisions between the medical and societal theoretical accounts as absurd. Bespeaking that medical theoretical accounts. as intended. should be viewed as difficult biomedical theoretical accounts. but despite this. things are made more complicated by there being the more socio-medical theoretical accounts. All doubtless really confounding. hence emphasizing. how easy the purposes of each theoretical account can be misunderstood.

Additionally. Norwich ( 2000 ) discusses inclusion in footings of instruction. He states that ‘a good instruction will turn to issues of inclusion. equality and participation’ ( ibid. . 2000: 110 ) . but he besides stresses that there are practical and ethical bounds in footings of instruction from the point of position of society and the person concerned. For illustration. the look of personal picks and penchants can frequently hinder upon the instruction of the person or group concerned. Nonetheless. with recent consideration being given the thoughts broached by the societal theoretical account. opposed to the medical theoretical account. the term ‘inclusion’ is normally being used when mentioning to instruction. A genuinely inclusive system aims to offer equality. entitlement. and effectual proviso to all kids ( Wall. 2006 ) . Farrell ( 2001: 7 ) provinces that ‘for inclusion to be effectual students must actively belong to. be welcomed by and take part in a school and community ?- that is they should be to the full included. ’ The inquiry being. in footings of the bigger image ; can inclusion be effectual for all?

However. Rieser ( 2006 ) proposes that the ‘social model’ has of import deductions for our instruction system. and is peculiarly relevant in snuff outing such damaging attitudes towards handicapped people. which have been learned through others. This is particularly pertinent in primary and secondary schools. as this is the phase where such attitudes of favoritism are ab initio formed. through contact with the prepossessions and intolerances of other people.

Despite such attempts to travel off from the dictatorial attack which has been derived from the medical theoretical account. Rieser ( ibid. ) besides makes it clear. from the position of person with a learning difficulty/disability. how such perceptual experiences are still relevant today.

Other people’s ( normally non-disabled professionals’ ) appraisals of us are used to find where we go to school ; what support we get ; what type of instruction ; where we live ; whether or non we can work and what type of work we can make ; and so whether we are even born at all. or are allowed to reproduce.

Rieser ( 2006: 135 )

This is a powerful statement. which emphasises how people are devalued and deprived of voicing their sentiment because they are seen as being different and unable to conform to society.

Williams ( 1991 ) proposes that by looking to ignore the negative stereotypes portrayed by the medical theoretical account. disability has been viewed by some as if it had nil to make with the physical organic structure. We could state that the statement over how ‘impairment’ differs or doesn’t from ‘disability’ could be related to whether or non we see the physical organic structure as holding anything to make with disenabling persons. Most statute law conforms to fact that it does. whereas. protagonists of the disablement rights motion believe that it doesn’t. with the position that it is society which has disabled people with damages.

There is besides the position that although societal attitudes and environmental barriers create bounds and limitations upon people with damages. for illustration. conversely. there are besides certain fortunes where damage in itself may restrict someone’s ability to suit in. Shakespeare ( 2006 ) comments that socio-political histories of disablement have considered that people with damages do in fact face built-in jobs because of their single shortages. These being over and above the restrictions which society and an unaccessible environment nowadays. This is peculiarly relevant with respects to those with degenerative conditions. where it is hard to ignore the negative facets associated with their damages ( Williams. 1999 ) . Carol Thomas ( 2004 ) has besides considered this construct in relation to account of the societal theoretical account. suggesting that in add-on to societal subjugation. disenabling facets can to be attributed to damage:

Once the term ‘disability’ is ring-fenced to intend signifiers of oppressive societal reactions visited upon people with damages. there is no demand to deny that damage and unwellness causes some limitations of activity. or that in many state of affairss both disablement and impairment effects interact to put bounds on activity.

Thomas ( 2004: 29 )

This once more highlights how the manner in which people with damages are acknowledged by society. depends to a great extent upon how the term ‘disability’ is perceived. and whether or non it is related to damage.

Furthermore. how sociologists explain inequality for people with disablements basically comes down to how they define and explain the term ‘disability’ . Medical sociologists. like Bury. have by and large taken the position of the medical theoretical account. and militants. like Finkelstein and Oliver. have conversely sided more to a great extent on the societal theoretical account. There is relevancy from both position points to how society and contrived attitudes have aided to discrimination against people with damages.

Similarly. psychologists view the construct of inclusion for people larning difficulties/disabilities in diverse ways. depending on their general theoretical beliefs. Although Norwich ( 2000 ) believes they all tend to tilt towards the societal theoretical account manner of thought. opposed to the medical theoretical account. they do all comprehend the societal theoretical account really otherwise. There is much confusion over the exact focal point and possibilities for inclusion in footings of the societal theoretical account because there are such diverse positions on the theoretical account itself.

To reason. it can be observed that both the medical and societal theoretical accounts of disablement have affected the possibilities for inclusion for people with learning difficulties/disabilities. Initially. furthering a medical attack devalued and excluded people who were different from society. Peoples were negatively labelled and stereotyped because of this manner of thought. and are frequently still categorised by their damage for societal policies and the similar. It can be noted that sentiments are easy altering. with more consideration now being given to the societal attitudes and environmental factors which may impact on how person with a learning difficulty/disability is included in society. However. the focal point of the societal theoretical account is still ill-defined. more notably in footings of people with larning troubles. Inclusion is evidently of import. and is going an progressively relevant at present. For illustration. within educational scenes. a genuinely inclusive civilization enables all pupils to larn aboard each other.

However. this is hard to conceive of without finding some degree of extra support. This requires some consideration to be given to the grade in which an individual’s damage impedes upon their acquisition. therefore. to an extent following a medical attack. In add-on to people with larning troubles. the fact that people with mental wellness jobs and chronic conditions are besides included in the disablement class demands to be given more consideration by both the societal theoretical account and disablement rights motion. Shakespeare ( 1992 ) agrees with this. and stresses that the individuality political relations of the disablement motion is one of its cardinal weaknesss. All in all. each theoretical account has had an affect on the possibilities for inclusion amongst people with learning difficulties/disabilities.


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