ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Insights into Disability Studies

Disability Studies in India: Global Discourses, Local Realities edited by Renu Addlakha (New Delhi:Routledge Taylor and Francis Group Publications), 2013; pp 464, Rs 895.

Disability as a universal phenomenon has been defined in a number of ways. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has explained the concept of disability under three broad categories, namely, “Impairment, Disability and Handicap”. Social scientists in recent decades have highlighted the socio-historical and cultural dimensions of disability. The medical model of disability stresses the fact that impaired bodies need to adjust, adapt and undergo corrections to overcome lack or absence, which is essential in most cases. The shift from the medical model to the social model of impairment is due to perception through the sociocultural and structural context. This has led to disability studies problematising the sociocultural construction of disability and opening up the space to criticise the medical model. The studies have shifted from lack to social barriers. The social model explains the social, structural and built environment barriers of physically impaired people.

Researchers in the social sciences and humanities have developed disability as an interdisciplinary category by forming a new methodological and analytical tool. The book under review has focused on the issues of persons with disabilities through an empirical examination of the contemporary context particularly of the Indian scenario. It also highlights the critical interpretations of impairments in narratives to throw light on evolving notions on impairment.

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