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Disability as Disjuncture: A Theory to Guide Social Work Practice

Social Work Chronicle

Volume 4 Issue 1 & 2

Published: 2015
Author(s) Name: Elizabeth DePoy, Stephen Gilson | Author(s) Affiliation: Prof,Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies and School of Social Work,Univ of Maine
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Abstract

Over the past several decades, disability and social work have become increasingly strange bedfellows, in large part due to the espousal of the medical model of disability on the part of social workers. This approach locates disability with the body as a deficit in need of repair, revision, or ongoing professional scrutiny. In opposition to this approach, disability scholars proposed the social model, which holds negative stereotyping and oppression as disabling factors, thereby creating a binary debate on cause and appropriate response to disability. We suggest that this binary is not useful in guiding social work to consider disability as a complex phenomenon, which requires multifaceted action responses. We therefore propose disability as disjuncture. This interactive model synthesizes a wealth of interdisciplinary fields to inform social work analysis and response to disability that meets the goals of advancing individual function, locating disability within a broad diversity dialog, and thus promoting equivalence of rights, choice, and opportunity for full participation for those who fit within the disability category. We conclude with exemplars of the thinking and action processes, guided by disjuncture theory, that illustrate the potency of this framework and its guiding properties for progressive social work disability practice.

Keywords: Determinants, Attitude, Practices, Child Marriage, Rural

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