Disablement Process

wheelchair ramp leads to set of stairs


Proposes that we “adopt the term disablement process, widespread in European science and policy, into American discourse in place of disability in order to emphasize the social and processural dimensions.” There is an “implicit cultural dimension of the disablement process, the handicap of eroded recognition as a full adult person caused by physical impairment and social disability.” (1) See also personhood.

Normal Project Examples N/A

We were challenged to find examples of disablement in this project. While disability is disempowering and often can lead to a loss of personhood or personal power, many of the people we interviewed were prideful in the face of a “disablement” process.


Mark Luborsky

  • Studies of perception and management of the sociocultural domain of personhood can contribute to models of the disablement process by expanding the focus to include cultural categories. (1)


  • While the concept of the disablement process is potentially applicable, the focus on “loss” and “erosion of personhood” make it problematic for analyzing the experience of people with different conditions of impairment onset.


  1. Luborksy, M.R. The Cultural Adversity of Physical Disability: Erosion of Full Adult Personhood. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Available online.

Published by Sarah Quinto


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