Is there a coherent social conception of disability?

John Harris

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    Is there such a thing as a social conception of disability? Recently two writers in this journal have suggested not only that there is a coherent social conception of disability but that all non-social conceptions, or 'medical models' of disability are fatally flawed. One serious and worrying dimension of their claims is that once the social dimensions of disability have been resolved no seriously 'disabling' features remain. This paper examines and rejects conceptions of disability based on social factors but notes that physical and mental conditions which disadvantage the individual have social dimensions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-100
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Disability
    • Discrimination
    • Handicap
    • Impairment
    • Social deprivation
    • Social exclusion


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