The impact of any disability policy depends on the conceptual model of disability upon which that policy rests. For the past quarter century of disability policymaking, culminating in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the dominant paradigm of disability has been a minority group model. That model identifies discrimination as the primary barrier facing people with disabilities in their desire for full social participation, and it proposes civil rights strategies as the proper policy response to that barrier.
James Charlton has produced a ringing indictment of disability oppression, which, he says, is rooted in degradation, dependency, and powerlessness and is experienced in some form by five hundred million persons throughout the world who have physical, sensory, cognitive, or developmental disabilities. Nothing About Us Without Us is the first book in the literature on disability to provide a theoretical overview of disability oppression that shows its similarities to, and differences from, racism, sexism, and colonialism.
James I. Charlton is an American author, disability rights activist, and Executive Vice President of Access Living in Chicago. He holds that disability is socially constructed. He created a model of the disability rights movement that differentiates between a number of different kinds of organizations.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy organizes scholars from around the world in philosophy and related disciplines to create and maintain an up-to-date reference work.
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Edward Nouri Zalta (born March 16, 1952) is a senior research scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University. He received his BA at Rice University in 1975 and his PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1981, both in philosophy. Zalta has taught courses at Stanford University, Rice University, the University of Salzburg, and the University of Auckland. Zalta is also the Principal Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
This introductory entry will outline the prevailing definitions and models of disability, and discuss the epistemic and moral authority of the experiences and self-reports of people classified as disabled.