Sociocultural Model of Impairment-Disability

Hands in a spiral facing inward. Colorful and stunning. Likely taken in India.

The sociocultural model views human experience as a product of culture and ideas. Disability in this model appears as an interaction between certain impaired bodies and their surrounding cultural environment.

Disability is the interaction of impaired bodies with the physical and social world usually expressed as a negative experience of exclusion due to perceived impairment. As disability is a social construction, the word disability has also been reclaimed by disabled people to mean that disability is the unique experience of those perceived to be impaired.

Kasnitz and Shuttleworth take us through varied conceptualizations of human embodied experience. They are as followed and are defined:

  • Embodied anomaly: Bodies that deviate from cultural ideas of normal. Not positive or negative. Examples: Freckles or red hair or height, but also hermaphrodism, deafness or autism.
  • Impairment: Aspects of bodies or functions of bodies that are perceived to deviate from the statistical “normal” that are stigmatized or are categorized by culture or others as ‘problems.’ Examples: Deafness, autism, speech impairment.
  • Disability: The interaction of impaired bodies with the physical and social world usually expressed as a negative experience of exclusion due to perceived impairment. The word disability has also been reclaimed by disabled people to mean that disability is the unique experience of those perceived to be impaired. Examples: People so disabled experience Educational barriers, physical barriers, social barriers.
    Handicap: Full disability in economic and social realms that is established and maintained by ablist social policies. Characterized as a loss of agency by the disabled subject. Examples: Social Security income.

Devva Kasnitz and Russell Shuttleworth

  • Kasnitz, D., Shuttleworth, R. (2004, modified by Kasnitz in 2015). A Cross-Cultural Sociocultural Model of Impairment-Disability, in Disability and Human Rights, Organized by Lenore Manderson, International Human Rights, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Kasnitz, D. (2001). Life Event Histories in the US Independent Living Movement, in M. Priestly, editor, Disability and the Life Course. Pages 67-79. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Image credit: Sanket K. Available online: The Telegraph UK.
Alyssa

Not something to aim for

I do deal with anxiety and depression, largely from older failed attempts at being normal, though other people’s reactions to my not trying to be normal are sometimes a contributing factor to my anxiety.

Published by Sarah Quinto

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahleggquinto

5 thoughts on “Sociocultural Model of Impairment-Disability

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: