Critical Disability Theory

Critical Disability Theory : Essays in Philosophy, Politics, Policy, and Law

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People with disabilities in Canada inhabit a system of deep structural, economic, social, political, legal, and cultural inequality - a regime of dis-citizenship. Despite the widespread belief that Canada is a country of liberty, equality, and inclusiveness, many persons with disabilities experience social exclusion and marginalization. They are socially constructed as second-class citizens.

Conventional understandings of disability are dependent on assumptions that characterize disability as misfortune and by implication privilege the "normal" over the "abnormal." Consequently, it is presumed that societal organization based upon able-bodied and -minded norms is inevitable and that the best we can do is show sympathy or pity. The essays Critical Disability Theory contend instead that achieving equality for the disabled is not fundamentally a question of medicine or health, nor is it an issue of sensitivity or compassion. Rather, it is a question of politics, and of power and powerlessness.

This book argues that we need new ways to think about the nature of disability, a new understanding of participatory citizenship that encompasses the disabled, new policies to respond to their needs, and a new vision of their entitlements. Twenty-four scholars from a variety of disciplines come together here to identify the problems with traditional approaches to disability and to provide new directions. The essays range from focused empirical and experiential studies of different disabilities, to policy analyses, legal interrogations, and philosophical reconsiderations. The result will be of interest to policy makers, professionals, academics, non-governmental organizations, and grassroots activists.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22.86mm | 580g
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • English
  • 11 b&w illustrations, 7 tables
  • 0774812044
  • 9780774812047
  • 762,460

Table of contents

Figures and Tables Preface Introduction: Toward a Critical Theory of Dis-Citizenship / 1 Richard Devlin and Dianne Pothier Part 1: Setting the Context 1 Disability Policy Making: Evaluating the Evidence Base / Mary Ann McColl, Alison James, William Boyce, and Sam Shortt Part 2: Conceptual Frameworks 2 Does Theory Matter? Exploring the Nexus between Disability, Human Rights, and Public Policy / Marcia H. Rioux and Fraser Valentine 3 Justice as Fairness in Accommodating Workers with Disabilities and Critical Theory: The Limitations of a Rawlsian Framework for Empowering People with Disabilities in Canada / Ravi A. Malhotra 4 Multicultural Citizenship: The Case of the Disabled / Theresa Man Ling Lee 5 Ghosts in the Machine: Civil Rights Laws and the Hybrid "Invisible Other" / Carolyn Tyjewski Part 3: Policy Analyses 6 Working at the Margins: Disabled People and the Growth of Precarious Employment / Robert D. Wilton 7 A Life without Living: Challenging Medical and Economic Reductionism in Home Support Policy for People with Disabilities / Kari Krogh and Jon Johnson 8 Autism as Public Policy / Dana Lee Baker 9 Post-Secondary Education and Disabled Students: Mining a Level Playing Field or Playing in a Minefield? / Teri Hibbs and Dianne Pothier Part 4: Legal Interrogations 10 Now You See Her, Now You Don't: How Law Shapes Disabled Women's Experience of Exposure, Surveillance, and Assessment in the Clinical Encounter / Catherine Frazee, Joan Gilmour, and Roxanne Mykitiuk 11 Damage Quantification in Tort and Pre-Existing Conditions: Arguments for a Reconceptualization / Darcy L. MacPherson 12 Beyond Compassion and Sympathy to Respect and Equality: Gendered Disability and Equality Rights Law / Fiona Sampson 13 Infertility and the Parameters of Discrimination Discourse / Daphne Gilbert and Diana Majury Appendix: Legal Developments in the Supreme Court of Canada Regarding Disability / Dianne Pothier Contributors Index
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Review quote

The essays in this collection demonstrate how social values, institutional priorities, and political will have identified current concepts of ?disability?; at the same time, these authors challenge us to re-think our assumptions and our categories to forge a new vision of equality, one that takes account of ?who and what gets valued, and who and what gets marginalized.? This collection is important for all Canadians who want to understand the lived experiences of persons with disabilities, who want to make a difference in their lives - by transforming their ?dis-citizenship? into valuable contributions to our collective life as citizens. ? Mary Jane Mossman, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
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About Dianne Pothier

Dianne Pothier and Richard Devlin are professors in the Faculty of Law at Dalhousie University.
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