Rehabilitation : A Post-critical Approach book cover
1st Edition

A Post-critical Approach

ISBN 9781482237238
Published January 26, 2016 by CRC Press
180 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Rehabilitation is dedicated to helping people not only survive, but also thrive. Despite this complex goal, the organizing principles of rehabilitation still rely on biomedicine to construct disability as a problem of impaired bodies. Rehabilitation professionals are committed to helping to enhance people’s lives, but many struggle with how to do so in light of the bigger questions regarding their roles in, for example, working to maintain hope for recovery and/or promoting greater acceptance of diverse abilities. A key problem is the lack of theoretical tools for working through the function of rehabilitation in the lives of disabled people.

Rehabilitation, for the most part, reflects a narrow mechanistic conception of movement. It considers movements of body structures such as joints, functional movements such as walking, or more recently, how movement and mobility facilitate participation in social roles. Despite a nascent concern with the environmental factors contributing to disablement, movement is still focused primarily on mobilizing people’s bodies.

Rehabilitation: A Post-critical Approach reexamines the philosophical foundations of rehabilitation, expanding the concept of movement beyond the physical body.

Drawing from disability studies, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, and bioethics, this theoretically rigorous yet accessibly styled text:

  • Explores the limitations of biomedicine as the organizing framework of rehabilitation
  • Evaluates new directions to diversify contemporary rehabilitation practice
  • Establishes the parameters for a reconfigured ethics of rehabilitation

By embracing multiple ideas of movement—not only physical, but also social, emotional, and political—alternative approaches to rehabilitation are revealed.

Table of Contents

Moving Rehabilitation
A Post-critical Approach
Critical Disability Studies
An Ethic of Openness
Moving Bodies
Use of Terms
Mobilizing Post-Critical Methodologies: Book Outline
Outline of Chapters

What Is Disability?
Theorizing Disability
The Social Model of Disability
International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health
What Is Normal(ity)?
Post-Critical Movements: Perturbing the Normal/Disabled Divide
Rehabilitating Normal/Disabled

Quality of Life
Origins and Confusions
QOL, Function, and Normalization
A Case Example
Challenges from within the Health Sciences
The Subjective/Objective Divide
Quality of Life Judgments in Clinical Practices
The Object of Intervention
Reforming Quality of Life

Barbara E. Gibson, Gail Teachman, and Yani Hamdani
Rethinking Children’s Rehabilitation
Implications for Rehabilitation Practice
Unhinging Normal and Development

Discourses of In/dependence
Dependence, Independence, and Interdependence in Disability Studies and Rehabilitation
Moving Assemblages
Reconstructing Dependencies

Mobilizing Desire
Amputee Mobilities
Crawling Mobilities
Wheelchair Mobilities
Mobility Movements

Re-Forming Rehabilitation
Continuities of Theory with Practice
Revisiting the Ethics of Openness
Implications: Mobilizing and Re-Forming
Rhizomatic Reforms
Choices and Directions
Movement without Conclusion

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Barbara E. Gibson is an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, and a senior scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She holds the Bloorview Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Childhood Disability Studies. She is a physical therapist and bioethicist, whose research examines the sociopolitical dimensions of childhood disability and rehabilitation. She holds cross appointments at the Centre for Person Centred Research, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand, and the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She is an academic fellow at the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research and a member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto.


"The book before you is more than simply a case for reflexivity in, and theoretical reflections on, rehabilitation: it is an important contribution to a burgeoning space of inquiry, to disability studies of rehabilitation. … Gibson does a great service."
—From the Foreword by Thomas Abrams, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada