From personal tragedy to social oppression: the medical model and social theories of disability


  • Martin Sullivan



Over the last decade the medical model with its individualized, psychologized and medicalized account of disability has been rejected in favour of a sociological account that views disabil.ity as an oppressive social creation. In these later accounts, the focus shifts from individual impairment to the disabling effects of social organization and structures designed around, and for, non-disabled people. This paper compares and contrasts the conceptual and theoretical approaches of both these models. In the light of these models, disability social policy, particularly as it affects the employment of disabled people, is examined.


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