Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

body and its behaviour and the treatment of the wearer; two discourses four possible combinations linked to ability expectations

In General inquiry into, application and development of Ableism Ethics and Governance on March 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

1) there are two discourses

a) the labelling of the body and its behaviour based on ability expectations

b) the social treatment,  the often discrimination the wearer of the body experiences.

2)  using clear language to distinguish between the two discourses

a) for the first discourse one can decide to use impairment  (medical model) or differently able or similar terms (social model)

b) for the second discourse (social treatment) one should use the term disability.

3) Four combinations enabled by the two discourses

a) medical model of body and behaviour and medical model of interventions

Example: traditional medical field

b) medical model of body and behaviour and social model of interventions

Examples: social determinants of health which are often social determinants of medical health  and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

c) social model of body and behaviour and social model of interventions

Example: Deaf culture

d) social model of body and behaviour and medical model of interventions

here we have people who see their body and its behaviour as a variation but feel discriminated by others judging them and try to avoid the judgement by medically altering themselves.

Example: Although people see their skin colour  as a variation they feel judged in a negative way. We see cases were such person looks for medical fixes such as genetic interventions to change the skin colour as a means to cut down on the social discrimination they experience (indeed people seek this intervention).

Example: The same we see with people who might not define themselves as body or behaviour deficient but lost their will to fight the discrimination, the disablement due to others defining them as lacking and as such try to modify themself so the discrimination goes away


When we debate medical versus social model of disability it really is about who is to be blamed for causing the disadvantage.

The social model would say the environment social or otherwise ; the medical model would say the body or its behaviour.

Both forms of disadvantages have their root at ability expectations.

The medical model of disability has certain ability expectations of the body and as such sees the body at the root of the disadvantage as it does lack certain abilities. seeking medical interventions

The social model of disability questions certain ability expectations that led to certain environments social or otherwise that expects certain body abilities or behaviour abilities seeking social interventions.

The CRPD in essence states that the disadvantage is caused by the body and behaviour and the environment. That only works if one concedes body ability and behaviour ability normalization

Using clear language we can better debate what goes on. Using the term disability for two discourses body and behaviour ability expectations and for discrimination is not the way to go.