Disability is a Social Construct

In writing my research proposal and working toward collecting my data for my dissertation, I have been reading quite a bit on disability identity theory (Gibson is the only one that really exists). I was really rather bummed by this when I started my literature review, but now I think it makes a great deal of sense.

You see, disability is a social construct. Society has told people who have disabilities how to be disabled. People with disabilities react to the stimuli society provides, and based upon this information, their identity develops.

The This American Life episode “Batman” came as I had unearthed another interesting bit of identity theory. People react upon perception. Society perceives people with disabilities as less than, and the people with disabilities perceive themselves perhaps not as less than, but as limited. Why? Society says so.

But, society is wrong.

Our bodies are amazing machines. People with disabilities may do things differently than the rest of society. But is that difference less than? And by association is that person less than?

Listen to the This American Life episode. I hope it changes your expectations and thoughts about disability.