A Sociology of Impairment
- Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 30, 2022
The social model of disability, which uses the impairment/disability binary to focus attention on removing disability, has been called the ’great idea’ of the disability movement. But scholars challenge the impairment/disability dichotomy for being too simplistic and politically inadequate since while it has been incredibly useful in focusing disability activism on the removal of disabling barriers and challenging disablist attitudes, it has stifled discussions of impairment. This book rejects the totalizing language of ’a social model’ and proposes a ’sociology of impairment’, which argues for a much more expansive approach to the topic of impairment. This is done by situating it as a social phenomenon. The social model of disability has positioned impairment as a simple biological experience. The purpose of this book is to highlight the social dynamics which underpin and surround impairment. By making parallels with the medical sociology emphasis on inequality as a primary factor in the uneven distribution of health and illness, Sherry argues that impairment is socially created and influenced by class, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, age and place as social determinants of impairment. Having positioned impairment as a socially created and culturally constructed experience, he then argues for the use of a socially-situated phenomenology in order to emphasize both the social and the personal aspects of impairment. Impairment is a somatic, carnal, individual experience - but it is also experienced interpersonally, within social and cultural contexts that are not controlled by people with impairments.
Mark Sherry is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toledo, USA. He is the author of Disability Hate Crimes (Ashgate: 2010) and If I Only Had a Brain (Routledge, 2006). He is the series editor of Ashgate's Interdisciplinary Disability Studies series and Chair of the Disability and Society section for the American Sociological Association.