Sociology of Deviance & Disability

Internet Resources

The concept of abnormality changes with knowledge and the prevailing social attitudes, therefore it is difficult to define an individuals' mental state or behaviour as abnormal.
Adam King
Studies reveal that up to 80 percent of the time, ADD cannot be identified in the physician's office, presumably because the one-to-one social context with a (frequently) male authority figure mediates against the occurrence of symptoms.
Thomas Armstrong
Othering feigns inclusion while incarcerating marginalized individuals within their nominal position of power on the social hierarchy. It essentializes by portraying dominant cultural ideologies as the one, true, legitimate knowledge.
Terry McVannel Erwin
...shyness, unpopularity, vagueness, impulsiveness or loneliness are all likely to be explained in terms of disorder, at which point organs of intervention and regulation will be put in place, and normalisation will commence -- often pharmacologically.
Gordon Tait
Timimi: The immaturity of children is a biological fact, but the ways in which this immaturity is understood and made meaningful is a fact of culture. Taylor: Hyperactivity is neither a social construct nor a genetic disease. The professional task is to understand how genetic and social influences interact, not to simplify into a polemic.
Sami Timimi, Eric Taylor
The primary tool or WEAPON terrocrats use to subjugate, control, and dominate their victims is WORDS. By "terrocrat" I mean "coercive political agent" or "terrorist bureaucrat." A terrocrat is always an individual human being.
Frederick Mann
There is a deep division with modern Christianity between those who personify evil and identify it with specific groups--gays and lesbians, feminists, liberals, Jews--and those who see evil as the will to dominate and oppress.
Chip Berlet,
An anthropological approach to ADHD is a bit more radical and involves "unplugging" the patient from the source of the disorder: the cultural matrix that triggers and maintains and defines them as diseased.
Tim Batchelder
Autism has become a useful symbol for some aspect of what we think of as human. But in some very real sense, I believe that this symbolic or metaphorical capacity has always been a part of autism - at least in how it has been formed as a concept, a syndrome, and a diagnostic category. Autism works as a metaphor because, as a metaphor, it makes sense to us. And it works as a pathology, as a disorder of empathy, because we understand it as a metaphor.
Patrick McDonagh
This article offers an anthropological perspective on autism, a condition at once neurological and social, which complements existing psychological accounts of the disorder, expanding the scope of inquiry from the interpersonal domain, in which autism has been predominantly examined, to the socio-cultural one. Persons with autism need to be viewed not only as individuals in relation to other individuals, but as members of social groups and communities who act, displaying both social competencies and difficulties, in relation to socially and culturally ordered expectations of behavior. The article articulates a socio-cultural approach to perspective-taking in autism in three social domains: (1) participating in conversational turn-taking and sequences; (2) formulating situational scenarios; and (3) interpreting socio-cultural meanings of indexical forms and behavior. Providing ethnographic data on the everyday lives of high-functioning children with autism and Asperger syndrome, the article outlines a cline of competence across the three domains, from most success in conversational turn-taking to least in inferring indexical meanings. Implications of these abilities and limitations are considered for theoretical approaches to society and culture, illuminating how members of social groups are at once shaped by, and are agents of, social life and cultural understanding.
Elinor Ochs, Tamar Kremer-Sadlik, Karen ainer Sirota, Olga Solomon
It is important that we all understand that judgement and bias is innate in the "scientific" theories about autism -- we must account for the scientist's own personal bias, social influences, judgements and opinions and the history of disability, and how that has influenced our thoughts and opinions. However, we seem to be taking all of these accounts now as today's TRUTH about autism. Parents and educators assume that these resonating words, unworthy as they are, are absolute truths. Parent's invest dollars in therapies that claim to be "scientifically proven," when they are not. I call these vapours -- and we stake children's lives upon them?
Estee Klar
Parents of autistic children tend to be more highly qualified than parents of children with other mental problems, according to a controversial study for the Department of Health. It also links a wide range of "clinically recognisable" mental health problems in youngsters to divorce and family breakdown.
Sarah Womack
To begin to answer these and many more questions, this paper shall look at three aspects of autistic autobiographical production and consumption. It will outline the history of autistic autobiography, it will demarcate this projects' definition of autistic autobiography - what texts are being included and excluded and why, it will examine the relationship between the individual experience and the collective experience in autobiography and it will look at how genre can be used in studying this field.
Irene Rose
As a social movement and as a self-identified culture (who, by the way, actually wrote a letter to the U.N. in an attempt to be recognised as a minority) with a core set of beliefs, they have gone beyond being “subjects” of psychological inquiry and have much to contribute to our understanding of culture and society. It would be even more interesting if the anthropologists who did the research were autistic themselves.
Nancy, Savage Minds
Contemporary interests as well as the will of demented people may clash with that person's exercise of precedent autonomy as well as the critical interests the person had before she became demented...
Seana Shiffrin
Summarizes recent scholarship on motherhood, 1600--present; situates twentieth-century mother-blaming as the product of specific historic forces; and explains how the cultural misogyny undergirding mother-blame works to elide broader social analysis.
Beryl Satter
In short, people have been, and will continue to be biologically different, and the differences which express themselves as social impairments remain very much the product of they age in which they are experienced.
Brenton Prosser
Recent advances in the discipline of developmental psychopathology highlight the contributions of developmental thought to the study of persons with autism. This article briefly outlines primary developmental innovations in theory, methodology, and the interpretation of findings. Specifically. we discuss two sets of issues that arise from the general notion of developmental level. One set is relevant to the choice of persons that comprise the comparison group and the other to the various implications of the subjects' levels of functioning. In sum, we contend that researchers need to frame their empirical work within the context of developmental theory and methodology and interpret their findings accordingly. This will lead to scientifically compelling work and an increasingly heuristic approach to the study of persons with autism.
Jacob Burack, Grace Iarocci, Dermot Bowler, Laurent Mottron
Erica Prussing et al
A truly human response to children's challenging behaviour is to seek meaning in it -- to listen deeply and respectfully to its manifest symptomatology in order to get as close as we can to understanding that behaviour, and then fashioning appropriate healing responses to it.
Richard House
This is a story about two parent advocacy groups, two programs focused on genetics research on the autistic spectrum disorders, and the production of material, informational, and institutional resources.
Chloe Silverman
This study demonstrates that for many young people with disabilities day services represent an alternative to the debilitating social isolation of the domestic sphere and the harsh realities of life in contemporary Britain
Colin Barnes
What is most relavant to the claims is the claims themselves, not the person making them. However, this doesn't mean that it isn't relavant to point out that the knowledge used to form a claim was acquired though either experience or academics...
The guidelines in the recent government white paper Valuing People not only encourage consultation with people who uses serviceson all levels but also create barriers through restrictive deadlines to meaningful involvement being achieved.
With the growing primacy of human agency in virtually all spheres of life, the field of psychology should be articulating a broad vision of human beings not a reductive fragmentary one.
Albert Bandura
Restructuring must also involve redefining literacy from a consequence of isolated subskill mastery to a tool for communication.
Christopher Kliewer
The purpose of the two studies was to compare lay beliefs regarding the aetiology and treatment of autism (study 1) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (study 2). It was hypothesised that beliefs about autism would be based primarily on a biomedical theory while beliefs regarding OCD primarily on psychological notions of cause and cure. Parents' interviews were conducted in study 1 and revealed that, as hypothesised, parents hold predominantly biomedical views about autism. Participants (n = 92) completed both questionnaires that involved rating a range of theories of aetiology and treatment approaches for each disorder. Statistical analysis confirmed that lay beliefs about autism were primarily biomedical and beliefs about OCD were primarily psychological. Multiple regression analyses indicated that a range of individual difference factors (religiousness, interest in mental illness, age and knowledge of autism) predicted beliefs about the importance of some of the five factors derived from factor analysis of belief statements. The relevance of investigating lay beliefs of aetiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders for clinical practice is also highlighted.
Adrian Furnham, Clare Buck
Discusses the notion of the "mental" as it relates to psychopathology; the concept of illness; the relationship of mental illness to concepts of function and malfunction; and sociocultural dimensions of psychopathology.
Robert Woolfolk
The definitions or conceptions of psychopathology and related terms such as mental disorder have been the focus of heated debate throughout the history of psychology and psychiatry, and the debate is far from over. Despite many variations, the debate has centered on a single overriding question -- are psychopathology and related terms such as mental disorder and mental illness scientific terms that can be defined objectively and by scientific criteria or are they social constructions that are defined entirely by societal and cultural values? The goal of this chapter is to address this question. Addressing it early is important because readers' views of everything they read in the rest of this book will be influenced by their views on this question.
James E. Maddux et al
This site aims to provide a comprehensive discussion and source list for connectionist and neural network models of disorders associated with mental or brain conditions.
It can be very difficult for someone who is distinctly different from the bulk of the populace to function within the context of a non-complementary culture.
Megan W. Brightwell
Following Hacking's vocabulary, I argue that autism is an interactive kind and that individuals labeled autistic are fundamentally transformed by that labeling and the subsequent interventions that follow, leading to what Hacking has described as the looping effect. Thus, the argument made here is that the processes of identifying, interpreting, remediating, and performing embodied differences are cultural and historically specific. Autism is not outside of the symbolic awaiting discovery. Autism is inscribed, produced, through it and an investigation into these processes of inscription/production reveals current desires, anxieties, and opportunities for personhood in the twenty-first century.
Majia Holmer Nadesan
...the rage, insecurity, frustration and general tedium of having to live in a sometimes brutal and inept commercial managerial environment should elicit the kind of conduct from which mental health professionals (therapists) make their living.
Christopher J. Willoughby
Determination of genetic mechanisms for various kinds of behavior may mean vast changes in social organization. Sociobiology has provided the evolutionary rationales but not the mechanisms for the biological basis of such traits.
Steve Mizrach
On the one hand, parents and teachers feeling the pressure from the breakdown of adult authority discourse, feel they must act to control unruly children; on the other hand they feel inhibited from doing so for fear of the consequences now that people are aware that families can be ruined and careers destroyed should the state decide to intervene.
Sami Timimi and 33 co-endorsers
Lawrence is not a person behind bars. He is someone willing to step on the dangerous soil, to ask the difficult question, to try to dance, and his life, and the memoirs of that recount lives like his, all ask us to do the same.
Debra L. Cumberland
'In psychological terms, the stereotype is a necessary expression of collective identity, often confirming aggressive or defensive intent, but always confiscating the other.'
Daniel Dunne
The social, perceptual and intellectual world inhabited by people with severe intellectual disabilities does not generally conform to such normative ways of behaving and interacting.
Jani Klotz
The mentally handicapped people of the United States compose a diverse minority that often exemplify to an extreme those characteristics of other minority groups that are deemed completely unacceptable and intolerable to the majority.
Christie Smith
...listen to and learn from the discourse of adults with disabilities who are proceeding - quite independent of the medical establishment, and in many cases, online - to develop their own terminology and meanings for their self-chosen labels of identity.
Margi Nowak
The use of the disease model privileges the pathology discourse while focusing on deficits of clients, and ignoring context. A hidden discrimination can take place in which the sexuality of a disabled person is pathologized as "sexual addiction."
Gary Nixon
That lives have become less predictable, less collectively determined, less stable, less orderly, more flexible, and more individualized has become one of the most commonly accepted self-perceptions of advanced societies.
Hannah Brückner, Karl Ulrich Mayer
Many cultural practices in school, including the language of 'special needs' construct what academically excluded students experience as a second-class version of success against which they find it difficult to struggle.
Shereen Benjamin
...the medicalization of disability casts human variation as deviance from the norm, as pathological condition, as deficit, and, significantly, as an individual burden and personal tragedy.
Rock Ethics Institute: Bioethics
The medicalization of disability places the focus on curing the so-called abnormality rather than constructing work environments where one can function with such impairments.
Marta Russell
Disability is increasingly being seen as a positive cultural identity. Consequently, inclusive education has the potential to assimilate disabled children and subsume the promotion of disabled identity under the pervasive concept of diversity.
John Lawson
If disability is defined as social oppression, then disabled people will be seen as the collective victims of an uncaring or unknowing society rather than as individual victims of circumstance. Such a view will be translated into social policies geared towards alleviating oppression rather than compensating individuals. It almost goes without saying that at present, the individual and tragic view of disability dominates both social interactions and social policies.
Mike Oliver
What role has disability played in American life, and why? What is the relationship between feminine frailty and the helpless disabled person? How do class and race play a role in these relationships? What does the disabled person tell us about the "ideal" American and how that identity is constructed at a time when democracy itself is still being defined?
Rosemarie Garland Thomson
Lennard Davis
This paper demonstrates that hitherto sociological analyses of disability have been theoretically and methodologically inadequate. The main reason for this is that sociology, in common with the other major contemporary disciplines. Has accepted almost without question the legitimacy of the individualistic. biomedical approach to disability. It is argued that this partial and essentially 'non-disabled' reading of the phenomenon has succeeded in precluding a meaningful evaluation of the economic, political and cultural forces which created and continue to create disability in modern society. Thus. the discipline as a whole has contributed significantly to the continued marginalisation of the disabled population. Moreover, by focusing on the development of the international disabled people's movement and the work of disabled writers it is suggested that disability is an issue as central to mainstream sociological discourse and analysis as class, gender. race and sexuality.
Colin Barnes, Mike Oliver
The discussion reviews conventional approaches to the study of educational disadvantage, and points out important inadequacies in their approach, especially in their neglect of the concept of difference.
Rob Gilbert, Pam Gilbert
In times of social and economic crisis the media play an important part in the creation of 'folk devils' around which moral panics develop, generally in the form of 'scapegoating'.
While the unconscious collusive process that sustains group basic assumptions is largely an intragroup process, what can't be contained or integrated within the group is projected into the 'other' or 'not me' groups.
Zachary Gabriel Green, Marvin R. Skolnick
Some Australian families with children who had autism had strong religious beliefs that explained their children's disability. These religious parents had higher expectations for their children... religious beliefs give disability a special meaning...
Suzanne Lamorey
The devaluation of disability results in societal attitudes that uncritically assert that it is better for a child to walk than roll, speak than sign, read print than read Braille... and hang out with nondisabled kids as opposed to other disabled kids.
Thomas Hehir
In several contexts using CEA to set health care priorities will result in assigning lower priority to both life extending and quality of life improving treatment for disabled than nondisabled persons with the same health care needs.
Dan W. Brock
The work of ethnomethodologists forms a foundation for understanding how deviant labels and categories are created and applied through the social processes of interpretation, typification, and negotiation.
Robert Keel
We examine how preferences evolve by natural selection in a competitive environment similar to that characterizing much of our evolutionary past.
B. Curtis Eaton, Mukesh Eswaran
Social Reproduction, Education and the Family; Family Processes in the United States; Family as Educator; State of the Family in the American State.
Hervé Varenne
To be "schizophrenic" or "autistic" is to live within scare quotes, in this passage... In the interview's quotation marks, "autistic" and "schizophrenic" are set off from the text to emphasize their figurative function; they operate rather than identify.
Kate Kaul
A form of behavior or experience cannot be conceptualized as a mental disorder unless, at the very least, it is judged to be deviant or abnormal... the phenomenon in question must be recognized as a violation of normative expectations.
Nick Haslam
If we read autistic language with the presumption that the person saying a seemingly non-sensical phrase such as "bedtime orange" is communicating his message; if we take on the responsibility of interpreting flavor tubes and clouds in the sky, we might be able to understand something of what an autistic person, with minimal language and not (or not yet) able to communicate more extensively through typing and writing, is telling us. And reading autistic language as we read poetry, with attention to its tropes and to the music of language--to its meter and rhythm--can offer some clues for interpretation and, most of all, for mutual understanding.
Kristina Chew
Using a root cause analysis framework, we identified system- and human-level factors that were perceived to impede communication and coordination of care for this population of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. These results suggest that better organizational policies that define provider responsibilities and accountability, support the coordination of care, bridge relationships between agencies, and provide additional education and resources may improve collaboration. Additional study is needed to assess the generalizability of these finding to other settings.
James P. Guevara et al
Autobiographical constructions of the mother-child relationship by mothers dealing with autism--their own or their child's--show the need for an expanded conception of motherhood, one that accommodates neurological difference. As autism itself demands a rethinking of possible maternal roles, these texts also highlight the multiplication of cultural contradictions faced by women whose experiences of the mother-child relationship must of necessity conflict with hallowed (and contested) maternal stereotypes. Rather than underscoring the impairment of lives, families, and mothers themselves, these texts construct autism spectrum disorders as granting opportunities for understanding and accepting differences, even in the most fundamental and socially defined relationships.
Sheryl Stevenson
We conclude that there is now strong evidence that virtually all individual psychological differences, when reliably measured, are moderately to substantially heritable.
Thomas Bouchard, Jr., Matt McGue
The question raised by persons with disabilities for health care resource prioritization then will what priority should be given to the worst-off.
Dan W. Brock
In the hysterical discourse Lacan isolates one of the partners as the divided subject , the other as the master signifier, or the master who embodies it... The agent is what we call a place of power.
Vicente Palomeram, lacanian ink
This display contrasts the faces of people with disabilities and the manner in which they were portrayed to society, and government officials. We have retained the exact language for historical accuracy.
Museum of disAbility History
Rush described Negroes as suffering from an affliction called Negritude, which was thought to be a mild form of leprosy. The only cure for the disorder was to become white. It is unclear as to how many cases of Negritude were successfully treated.
Vanessa Jackson
Rosenblum and Travis describe the Other as an idea that by definition, is designed to identify those people who are "profoundly unlike oneself". The Other that I will speak about herein refers to the people who are classified by the dominant as being inherently different. Those people that are able to construct the Other, who engage in Othering, have a powerful form social control. Those that are labeled as the Other are aggregated into groups based on some underlying characteristic that they share. However, a number of questions arise from this act of Othering. How are the classifications created? Why are they created? And what role does identity play in this?
Karin Kubischta
In Professor Arthur R. Jensen's "The Nature of Intelligence and its Relation to Learning' (Melbourne Studies in Education,1978) some seven pages are devoted to an attempt to show that " intelligence' or 'general mental ability' can be identified with what is known as the g factor, a product of the factor analysis of correlations between a number of 'intelligence' tests. The theory is that all intelligence tests produce slightly different results because each one is contaminated to some extent by irrelevant factors, and these factors are not constant; but if one can analyse what all the tests test for in common then that will be 'intelligence' expressed as g. Many critics of intelligence testing, however, have held that the common factor between the tests is an illusion, that the correlations between the tests and the g these produce are only products of the way the tests are constructed - that the psychologists are finding the proof that they have themselves hidden there.
Chris Borthwick
The process of scholarly peer review should become sensitive to the features that make comparisons invidious, so as to incorporate them into the criteria used to evaluate research.
Elizabeth R. Cole, Abigail Stewart
For every hour the developmentally disabled individual gives the researcher in the name of science, the researcher should give one hour to the individual in the name of one-on-one therapy or training.
Richard Malott
This article offers an alternative approach to paradigms that cast culture solely as a nurturing influence on children's language development. It proposes a dimensional model of Child-Directed Communication (CDC) to delineate ways in which a community's habitus may impede the communicative potential of children with neuro-developmental conditions such as severe autism. It argues that certain features of Euro-American CDC are illadapted for autistic children. Due to inertia, caregivers often find themselves unable to transcend the limitations of CDC habitus. Yet, occasionally, a transformation in CDC emerges that more effectively engages children with impairments. The article analyzes one such transformation forged in the niche of a unique mother–son relationship in India and then introduced in the USA.
Elinor Ochs et al
This article explores issues of public reactions often encountered by persons with disabilities. A recent trip to Disneyland provides an opportunity to experience as well as reflect on interactions between those with and without disabilities.
Barbara Bromley
I borrow from postmodernism the de-centered model of knowledge and knowledge-making as well as the related concept of indeterminacy, and from post-colonialism the demand of subjects to speak for themselves rather than being spoken for.
James C. Wilson
This paper is based on my belief that people who acquire impairments, whether it be through sudden injury or accident or the gradual encroachment of chronic illness, are faced with identity crises or 'biographical disruptions.' which are directly linked to the social construction of disability as an inferior status... it is my intention to extend the social model to include an analysis of the "disabled identity", an identity which stems, I believe, from the negative status imposed upon people when they become impaired.
Rose Galvin
In major metropolitan population centers and heavily urbanized states, vocational rehabilitation clients have their cases framed starting with what they can't do rather than what they can do. Vocational rehabilitation as taught and practiced depends for its very survival upon a system of providers and a group of beneficiaries. Even changing the term to "consumers" or "participants" doesn't alter the fact that the model for evaluation and the benchmarks of client success and progress with their individualized plans of employment (IPE's) is fraught with the vocabulary of medicine and and psychobabble.
Roger N. Meyer
Group membership may impact personal evaluations of the self. Recognition of the devaluation that one's group experiences as a whole may contribute to distress independently of personal self-evaluations.
Jennifer Katz
For all the talk about 'competence-based' models of learning disability, there has been remarkably little acceptance of its corollary that we cannot assume a close association between competence in the classroom and social competence in adulthood.
Murray K. Simpson
Just as classifying people as having an intellectual impairment is an inexact science, so is counting them. Matt's argument raises as many questions as it answers – always a good sign.
Jan Walmsley
Unless its long term goal is to eventually label the entire population of Scotland as having a learning disability, the Scottish Executive needs to face up to the fact that the increase in labelling can not go on for ever.
Matt Egan
Use of autism as metaphor reflects the way metaphors of self-loss, otherness, and animalisation/dehumanisation have been used to describe autism itself. These metaphors say little about autism as a condition, while speaking volumes about cultural anxiety.
Mitzi Waltz
In this article, I suggest that much of the larger disagreement over the Americans with Disabilities Act can be characterized as a clash of perspectives about the meaning of disability. I do not address the specifics of statutory interpretation dealt with elsewhere in this special issue; rather, I suggest how underlying assumptions about disability frame the current debate over the ADA.
Richard K. Scotch
The past offers numerous examples of collective behavior during which widespread, fearful rumors and accusations about dangerous deviants resulted in false accusations of crime against many innocent people.
Jeffrey Victor
Thought-disordered people help the community to gain a more holistic perspective on what it means to be human. If we as community can incorporate their incoherent stories into the bigger story then we will see that life is more than just being rational…
Jeramy Townsley
Definitional power is socially distributed: the power of the mainstream is orchestrated by expert classifications of marginality that disparage others, often in the form of euphemisms.
James Valentine
Research on the pervasive developmental disorders within a cultural context and in developing countries has received limited attention from both the fields of mental health and anthropology. Although autism holds considerable potential for expanding the field of transcultural psychiatry, the bulk of research has consisted of case studies and brief reviews, with few studies undertaking a serious discussion of cultural factors. The current article reviews the literature to date on autism within a cultural context and highlights both rationale and directions for future efforts in this area, drawing from research with 109 families of autistic children in urban India.
Tamara Daley
Patterns of deficits in adults with brain damaged are interpreted in terms of intact and impaired functional modules. This framework and its methods are powerful tools for exploring cognitive deficits at a given point in time. However, because the framework deals in static snapshots, its power to evaluate the distal origins of deficits is limited, and in the case of developmental deficits, use of the framework leads to the curious postulation of explanations that exclude the process of development.
D. Mareschal et al
Autistic adults were more likely than normal adults to offer nothing to the other player. The autists seem incapable of understanding what another player might believe and do; as a result, ironically, they play like self-interested game theorists!
Colin Camerer, George Loewenstein
Much of the ethos of the professional presumes, and frequently promotes, an isolated individual as the patient, and contemplates neither the existence nor ethical standing of community among patients.
Jonathan Shay
Since the Old Testament times people with disabilities have been seen as having done something that displeased God. Fictional characters, such as Tiny Tim in the Christmas Carol always needed a cure or care from an able-bodied adult.
Joseph Shapiro
There is no such thing as "unmediated" autism literature. Nor should we be overly pre-occupied with questions of "authorship" in collaborative works in which autistic authors take part. In fact, if we've learned anything from our life in the new country of autismland it is that all of our prior assumptions regarding autonomous "selfhood" have fallen away. Narratives of autism conversion/recovery that focus primarily on the autistic "self;" the self and therapist or even the self and "family" owe too much to a narrative tradition ill-suited to the lived experience of autism. Autism in fact represents a "sign of contradiction" to many of the cherished notions enshrined in conversion narratives. When these narrative conventions shape our ways of seeing we do injustice to persons with autism, past present and future. Rather than forcing autism narratives into inadequate cultural forms we might being to seek ways of representing autism as radically transpersonal, as communal, and authentic as is.
James T. Fisher
A university course web page with many interesting links.
Ron Amundson
Four relatively distinct traditions in work with people with intellectual disability are identified: ordinary living/normalisation, functional, behavioural, and developmental. These approaches are analysed as paradigms which could be compatible or not.
Mark Burton, Helen Sanderson
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When all you have to treat illness are pharmaceutical drugs, then you look for symptom clusters of an illness in order to use these drugs.
Gary Null
Factors involved in diagnostic legitimacy are: diagnostic legitimacy in the medical community, lay acceptance of the diagnosis, uncertainty in looking for causes, and social mobilization.
Stephen Zavestoski et al
Through developing an understanding of oppression as a common theme among all of us with psychiatric labels, we discover the ways in which people have been marginalized by their culture, as opposed to seeing us simply as "insane."
Shery Mead, David Hilton
Person-centered planning (PCP) is a recent but popular approach in the developmental disabilities community, but it is in need of a behavior analysis. However, conventional applied behavior analysis requires levels of treatment integrity and outcome assessment that appear inconsistent with the methods and goals of PCP. The analysis would require addressing more socially valid goals with innovative procedures, and it would entail less of an experimental analysis and more of the empirical problem-solving process that characterized applied behavior analysis in its early years.
Steve Holburn, Peter Vietze
Over the last thirty years we've come an awful long way. I think, particularly amongst some of the younger people now, that few will know the kind of difficulties we faced when disability was totally viewed as a medical problem. Anyone suggesting that maybe it was more to do with social rights was regarded as kind of bananas. So, when we look at what we have today, we should not lose sight of the awful long way we have come in this time.
Vic Finkelstein, Leeds University Centre for Disability Studies
Society associates disability with physiological, anatomical, or mental "defects," and holds these conditions responsible for the disabled person's lack of full participation in the economic life of our society...
Marta Russell
The dominant group holds maximum power when the distinction between "us" and "them" is believed to be a fundamental, irreversible dissymmetry in which groups have little in common. Centering one group marginalizes Other groups. If the central group considers itself normal and able, Others become abnormal and disabled. Privileging the center is widespread. Education everywhere has built-in limitations in reaching peripheral groups, which Nielson describes as those with little access to goods and services because of their low position in status hierarchies or history of unfavorable relations with dominant groups.
Ellen Brantlinger
Autism is, to a large extent, a political construct. Why should the particular combinations of personality traits found in the autistic population be considered any more of a disorder than any other set of traits, such as optimism, extroversion, or (as already mentioned) left-handedness? The diagnostic categories reflect a social value judgment that some personality traits are less desirable than others.
Autistic Bitch from Hell
Language such as defect, abnormality and congenital malformation is sometimes used to describe fetuses in which a disability has been detected... disability is being framed in the context of individual pathology, rather than in a social context.
Yvonne Peters, Karen Lawson
Far from being an objective, scientific notion, abnormality is a fundamentally ideological, socially constructed, culturally relative concept... whose unconscious function is to reduce anxiety in the face of others' difference.
Richard House
As disability studies practitioners, we naturally look for how case studies discuss (or do not discuss) issues of impairment and issues of social construction. We look specifically for how the voices and views of people with disabilities are heard, or not heard, when disability and the lives of people with disabilities are written about.
Mitzi Waltz
These master notions of who we should be, mask the fact that we can be completely sufficient being who we are. We should not have to fight ourselves because the true enemy is society.
The elements of interest here are the linguistic conventions that structure the meanings assigned to disability and the patterns of response to disability that emanate from, or are attendant upon, those meanings.
Parents who are told that their child suffers from ADHD... must never forget that school personnel and child psychiatrists and psychologists are government agents. Their job is to control children, not to care for their health or well-being.
Thomas Szasz
It will be based upon a reading of narrative-based representations of autism in literature, film, television and print media, as well as a reading of the place of the condition within the wider cultural context of the modern period.
Stuart Murray
One new measure of this public morality is the growing political willingness, and at times eagerness, to admit one's historical guilt. As a result of admitting their guilt the perpetrators may expect to have a cleaner conscience, and even political payoff
Elazar Barkan
Until recently, the fact that people who experience prolonged psychiatric disability can grow beyond the limits of their condition and reclaim full lives was rarely mentioned in professional literature, perhaps because the idea of recovery is heretical within the dominant biomedical model... rigorous outcome studies from across the globe consistently demonstrate a substantial proportion of people with prolonged psychiatric disabilities either recover or improve significantly across major life domains over time.
Priscilla Ridgway
"Rethinking Autism" is an online presentation I prepared for Dr. François Nielsen's class on Evolutionary Sociology at UNC Chapel Hill. In it I cover the definition and current understanding of autism, as well as introduce and examine what is now known as the Autism Spectrum, including Asperger's disorder. I discuss the increasingly narrow standard of behavior and function regarded as normal, and attempt to re-examine autism through an evolutionary perspective.
Elizabeth Ross
In human terms (risk) is something that happens to someone, but inevitably severely affects another. Risk involves a subject and object. In other words, it is a vectored event. Hence one person's injury is always another person's misery.
Joseph H. Berke
We're still stuck inside our human kind of thinking. At the end of the day we've really no definite idea what it's like to be anything -- or anyone -- else. So "theory of mind" means 'theory of human mind' with a kind of ominous inevitability.
Stuart Watt
Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 297-310 (1971)
Edward R. Ritvo et al
Our contention is that Asperger Syndrome has been readily adopted as a category because of its value as a category of special education. In other words, the school is a pivotal institution in the dissemination of AS as a category.
Harvey Molloy, Latika Vasil
By creating the illusion that only certain "types" are afflicted with certain diseases, by transforming individuals into geniuses or pariahs, metaphors create unrealistic expectations, distort self-conceptions, generate prejudices, and cast blame.
Caralee Caplan specific cases, the judgements made by a society that some condition is a disease are the result of a process of social construction rather than a response to value-neutral objective disease-facts.
Matthew McGrattan
Our rapidly changing culture raises questions about standards of normality that social workers are often asked to help enforce. The author insists that we need standards to guide our communal life while also reminding the reader that normality is a mere contextdependent social construct. The article gives examples of drastically changing standards such as the changing expectations of normal sexuality or normal child rearing. Therapeutic standards, partially laid down in the Code of Ethics, are, moreover, the guidelines for social work practice, given the close interface between ethical values and clinical practice. The ambiguity of the meaning of normal and abnormal is discussed, suggesting that abnormal behavior may be required in the face of social injustices.
Sophie Freud
The study of social dilemmas is the study of the tension between individual and collective rationality. In a social dilemma, individually reasonable behavior leads to a situation in which everyone is worse off.
Peter Kollock
Disability is an area that is particularly sensitive to the changing position of the boundary between the public and private domain. It is an indicator of how states conceive of social justice as a public good and the economics of social responsibility.
Marcia Rioux
Unemployment and early separation from both parents may be key factors behind the higher rates of schizophrenia in British African-Caribbeans, research suggests.
British Broadcasting Corporation
People with a label of 'autism' have not been part of the debate and have not been included in the wider disability movement. When reading the autobiographical accounts, there are many references to the 'barriers' in place within society.
For the person, suffering, inadequacy, and estrangement. For the primary group, the problem of disorder in everyday routines, difficulty in communication, and change in life circumstances. For the community, deviance, disability and provision of care.
Martin Kozloff
There is little chance for self-advocacy and self-representation of people with such disorders if autistics and their many correlatives accept the extensive labelling with which the medical discourse attempts to distinguish one disorder from an other.
Ine Gevers
Technology has an impact on the value-ladenness of the concept of disease, and that technology illuminates the general value-ladenness that forms the basis of any medical activity.
Bjorn Hoffman
"The extensive influence which these opinions had upon the understandings, passions, and morals of many citizens... constituted a form of insanity, which I shall take the liberty of distinguishing by the name of anarchia." Benjamin Rush
Frederick Mann
Although the concept that disabled citizens comprise a minority group has been recognized in psychology, economics and sociology, development of this model has been impeded by the lack of a strong emphasis on political dimensions of the issue.
Harlan Hahn
It is, in summary, too easy to use mental illness -- often a devastating condition -- for all kinds of manipulations, political, romantic or dramatic.
P.C. Jersild
A distressing trend is emerging, among a group I refer to as Neo-Darwinists, who imply or state flat-out that people with ADHD are genetically dysfunctional, less evolved than the rest of us, and thus have nothing to contribute to our culture whatsoever.
Thom Hartmann
(Quoting Baynton:) "While historians have not overlooked the use of disability to deny women's rights, they have given their attention entirely to gender inequality and not at all to the construction and maintenance of cultural hierarchies based on disability. . . . [J]ust as it was left unchallenged at the time, historians today leave unchallenged the notion that weakness, nervousness, or proneness to fainting might legitimately disqualify one for suffrage."
Michael Berube
For children and individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, often most of what they do is defined from a deficit perspective in comparison to adult normative standards, obscuring the personal subjective experience.
Susan L. Spitzer

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