Members of a Network working on

Ableism and Ability Glossary

Just a starting point

Ableism how it started

The term ableism evolved from the disabled people rights movements in the United States and Britain during the 1960s and 1970s to question and highlight the prejudice and discrimination persons experienced whose body structure and ability functioning was labelled as ‘impaired’ as sub species-typical. Ableism of this flavor is a set of beliefs, processes and practices that favors species-typical normative body structure based abilities and labels sub-normative species-typical biological structures as deficient, as not able to perform as required. The disabled people rights discourse and scholars of the academic field of disability studies questions the assumption of deficiency intrinsic to below the norm labeled normative body abilities and the favoritism for normative species-typical body abilities see for example Campbell, Overboe, Carlson, and the Media and Culture Issue in the bibliography section of this blog
However Ableism is one of the most societally entrenched and accepted “isms” and it exists in many forms such as biological structure based ableism, cognition based ableism, ableism inherent to a given economic system, and social structure based ableism (Wolbring 2008).

Ableism general:

A set of beliefs, processes and practices that produce based on ones abilities a particular kind of understanding of oneself, one’s body and one’s relationship with others of one’s species, other species and one’s environment and includes one being judged by others. Ableism reflects the sentiment of certain individuals, households, communities, groups, sectors, regions, countries and cultures to cherish and promote certain abilities such as productivity and competitiveness over others such as empathy, compassion and kindness (favoritism for abilities). Ableism exhibits favouritism for certain abilities that are projected as essential while at the same time labelling real or perceived deviation from or lack of these essential abilities as problematic. Ableism can lead to consequences such as disablism (Miller, Paul, Parker, Sophia, and Gillinson, Sarah (2004).the negative treatment of the people who do not have the essential abilities. Ableism can lead or contribute to the justification of various other isms such as sexism, species-ism, racism, ageism, caste-ism, anti environmentalism, consumerism, competitiveness-ism, GDP-ism and other isms.

Beyond Species Typical form of Ableism

A set of beliefs, processes and practices that perceive the improvement of functioning of biological structures beyond typical boundaries as essential. This version of ableism, sees all species-typical biological structures as limited, defective and in need of constant improvement beyond biological structure typical boundaries (see Wolbring’ s papers in the bibliography)

Ability/Ableism Studies
investigates: (a) the social, cultural, legal, political, ethical and other considerations by which any given ability may be judged, which leads to favouring one ability over another; (b) the impact and consequence of favouring certain abilities and rejecting others; (c) the consequences of ableism in its different forms, and its relationship with and impact on other isms; (d) the impact of new and emerging technologies on ableism and consequent favouritism towards certain abilities and rejection of others; and (e) identification of the abilities that would lead to the most beneficial scenario for the maximum number of people in the world (see Wolbring’ s papers in bibliography).

Ableism Ethics
Ethics of Ableism/Ableism Ethics is a framework of standards and values that (a) guide beliefs, processes and practices that produces based on ones abilities a particular kind of understanding of oneself, one’s body and one’s relationship with others of one’s species, other species and one’s environment and includes one being judged by others; (b) guide the favouritism for certain abilities and how one decide which abilities to favour over others; and (c) guide the reactions towards humans and other biological entities that are seen -real or perceived- to lack these essential abilities. The study of the Ethics of Ableism/Ableism Ethics, also includes (a) the study of those standards and values, incorporating the perspectives of many different groups especially of the people labelled as lacking certain ‘essential’ abilities or labelled as exhibiting ‘as negative seen abilities’; (b) the impact assessment of different forms of ableism onto different ethics theories and ethical principles including health ethics theories and their use to govern science and technology and health research, care and policy; and (c) identification of ethical actions that flow from a favouritism for certain abilities (Wolbring, 2008).

Ableism Governance
Governance of Ableism/Ableism Governance is about how we govern ableism, the favouritism for certain abilities and the reaction towards non favoured abilities. This field is seen as an essential tool to help address existing and future challenges in the governance of science and technology and many other fields such as health policy (Wolbring 2008).

Ability/Ableism security
that one is accepted, and is able to live one’s life with whatever set of abilities one has, and that one will not be forced to have a prescribed set of abilities to live a secure life (Wolbring 2007).

Self-identity security’ could be seen as a subset of personal security and means that one is accepted with one’s set of abilities and that one should not be forced (physically or by circumstance) to accept a perception of oneself one does not agree with (e.g. one is not expected to have the ability to walk and is seen as a ‘deficient product’ if one cannot walk (Wolbring 2007).

Ableism Foresight: To anticipate and understand shifting social dynamics enabled by advancing sciences and technologies (Wolbring 2008).

  1. Just the site I was looking for. Hoping to establish a research network in Sweden.How do I follow this blog? Only on WordPress?

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