Disabilities / Disability Studies
@Descember 12, 2006
Oba, Takeshi ; Inoue, Tatsuo ; Kawamoto, Takashi; Kato, Hisatake ; Kanzaki, Shigeru ; Shionoya, Yuichi ; Narita,Kazunobu eds. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Ethics
(Japanese), Kobundo, 1100p. ASIN: 4335160402 21000yen [amazon]
@@[Disabilities are] conditions that arise between abnormalities in the body (broadly defined) and the current state of people/society. They usually appear as something negative and in most cases are attributed to the person in question. They have been divided into three categories, physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and mental illnesses, and have also been described using other terms such as "developmental disability". In 1980 the World Health Organization (WHO) created an international disability categorization scheme: impairment (lack of function) ¨ disability (lack of ability) ¨ handicap (social disadvantage). This approach was criticized for taking the body to be the cause of social disadvantage and was revised to place more emphasis on the interaction between environmental and individual factors. In the same context there have been assertions that since a disability is only one part of the individual in question they should be referred to as a "person with a disability", and that since "disablement" is created by society those given it should be referred to as "disabled". This kind of terminology can be seen, for example, in legislation entitled "The Americans with Disabilities Act" and "Disabled Peoples' International", an international organization of people with disabilities.
@@Within this series of developments a movement called "disability studies" has emerged (in Japan its association was founded in 2003). This movement advocates a "social model" in which it is understood that disabilities arise within the context of society and should be dealt with through social reforms in place of the "individual model" in which the focus is on the body (and its deficiencies) and the burden of solving any related problems is placed on the person in question and the "treatment model" in which the individual in question is supported by medicine/welfare specialists who provide treatment/training. It also seeks to orient itself around the experience of the individual in question and places an emphasis on their contributions. It also discusses the difficulty of getting away from the body, raises doubts about the negative nature of disabilities and points to the distinctive cultures which they sometimes engender.
@@There are many issues which need to be considered going forward. If everyone were equal in their degree of capability (disability), everyone could presumably receive equal benefits and have the same lifestyle if meritocracy/meritocratic principles are employed. In other words, if disability did not exist then the current state of affairs in society would be fine. There is, however, disparity within our society. There are physical differences between individuals. How are we to address this? It is a fundamental issue concerning social norms/structure. Furthermore, if the assertion that what an individual cannot do should be done for him or her by a machine or another person and support given by society is accepted, there still remain functions which cannot be replaced/compensated for in this way. In most cases differences in form/appearance do not disappear and remain with the individual in question, and the reaction of other people to these differences is connected to sensation/sensibility and is difficult to change. Do we thus have no alternative to adhering to the status quo?
@@If we do not want to say this what can we say instead?