2nd Edition

Disability Rights and Wrongs Revisited

By Tom Shakespeare Copyright 2014
    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    Over the last forty years, the field of disability studies has emerged from the political activism of disabled people. In this challenging review of the field, leading disability academic and activist Tom Shakespeare argues that disability research needs a firmer conceptual and empirical footing.

    This new edition is updated throughout, reflecting Shakespeare’s most recent thinking, drawing on current research, and responding to controversies surrounding the first edition and the World Report on Disability, as well as incorporating new chapters on cultural disability studies, personal assistance, sexuality, and violence. Using a critical realist approach, Disability Rights and Wrongs Revisited promotes a pluralist, engaged and nuanced approach to disability. Key topics discussed include:

    • dichotomies – going beyond dangerous polarizations such as medical model versus social model to achieve a complex, multi-factorial account of disability
    • identity - the drawbacks of the disability movement's emphasis on identity politics
    • bioethics - choices at the beginning and end of life and in the field of genetic and stem cell therapies
    • relationships – feminist and virtue ethics approaches to questions of intimacy, assistance and friendship.

    This stimulating and accessible book challenges disability studies orthodoxy, promoting a new conceptualization of disability and fresh research agenda. It is an invaluable resource for researchers and students in disability studies and sociology, as well as professionals, policy makers and activists.

    1. Introduction  Part 1: Foundations  2. Materialist Disability Studies  3. Cultural Disability Studies  4. Critical Realist Disability Studies  5. Labels and Badges  Part 2: Applications  6. Questioning Prenatal Diagnosis  7. Just Around the Corner: The Quest for Cure  8. Autonomy at the End of Life  9. Personal Assistance as a Relationship  10. Friendship  11. Thinking About Disability, Sex and Love  12. Understanding Violence Against Disabled People


    Tom Shakespeare is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Sociology at the University of East Anglia, UK. He was until recently a member of the Disability and Rehabilitation team at WHO, where he was an author and editor of the World Report on Disability. He has previously held academic posts at the Universities of Sunderland, Leeds and Newcastle.

    Disability Rights and Wrongs Revisited is an enormously important book for anyone who wants to understand what disability studies has already achieved, what it has failed to achieve, and what it should aspire to achieve in the future. Tom Shakespeare’s writing is irreverent, clear, and wise.’ – Dr Erik Parens, Senior Research Scholar, The Hastings Center, USA.

    ‘In this thoughtful and insightful book, Tom Shakespeare, a leading scholar, brings together current arguments and emerging concerns to review where disability studies now stands, how the field arrived at this point, and where it might – and should – go in future. Applying a disability perspective to some of the key ethical issues of our time – from prenatal diagnosis to personal relationships, violence to end of life choices, Dr Shakespeare raises as many intriguing questions as he answers. The result is an engaging and important contribution to the literature that should be required reading for anyone interested in disability studies, in ethics and in human rights.’ – Professor Nora Ellen Groce, Director, Leonard Cheshire Disability & Inclusive Development Centre, University College London, UK.

    ‘The first edition of Disability Rights and Wrongs rapidly became a must-read text for any scholar interested in disability. This updated and substantially reworked edition is sure to be as influential and as important. By critically engaging with much of the recent literature in disability studies it consolidates and develops the arguments found in the first edition. The book argues that if we are to understand fully what disability is and what it means we have to adopt a broad approach. It also foregrounds the importance of social relationships and the book challenges us to understand the social, cultural and biomedical aspects of disability.’ – Professor Nick Watson, Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research, University of Glasgow, UK.