Social Policy and Disability

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In this chapter I will explore the relationship between UK social policy and the experience of disability. From the outset I must make it clear that when I refer to disability I am not talking about an embodied condition or characteristic. Instead I use the word to refer to an oppressive social relationship experienced by people with physical, sensory, emotional and cognitive impairments in their encounters with the physical and social environments in which they live. In other words, I am going to explore the relationship between UK social policy and disability as a social construct. I will consider the emergence of disability as a result of processes involving the industrialisation and modernisation of society during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and in relation to the ways in which social policy emerged to support the social changes required in the management of industrialised capitalism. I will examine ways in which, rather than being necessarily benign – being about the support of those unable to support themselves – social policy relating to disability can be viewed as part of a wider network of mechanisms used by governments to maintain structural relationships rooted in, and requiring, inequality as a principle of social organisation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Policy First Hand
Subtitle of host publicationAn International Introduction to Participatory Social Welfare
EditorsPeter Beresford, Sarah Carr
Place of PublicationPadstow
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781447332374, 9781447332381
ISBN (Print)9781447332350, 9781447332367
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2018


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