Geography of Disability

Dan Jacobson

in Geography

ISBN: 9780199874002
Published online February 2013 | | DOI:
Geography of Disability

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  • Earth Sciences and Geography
  • Human Geography


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Geography of disability explores disabled peoples’ experiences of space and place; it is a broad research area in which geography overlaps with many other disciplines. Disability, in the most general sense, refers to individuals with mind and body differences, commonly referred to as physical or intellectual impairments. Geographies of disability investigate the relationships between the geographical environment and complex and fluid interactions with the nature of an individual’s impairment. The role of society is explored as a mechanism for including or marginalizing people with disabilities. Geography of disability refers to the landscape of disabled people’s experience, from the urban to the rural and from the microscale of household mobility to the accessibility of transportation networks across cities and countries. Research includes individuals with visible and nonvisible disabilities; for example, a person in a wheelchair as well as an individual with psychiatric illness. In the built environment, geographers study the visible manifestations of environmental adaption, such as availability of wheelchair ramps or the lack thereof. This research is extended into a range of sociospatial processes that surround issues of disablement; a range of social, political, and cultural factors; and the complex interactions among power, space, and materiality. The term disability is used to have different fluid and variable meanings in different contexts and is often contested by the philosophical approach of the researcher.

Article.  11266 words. 

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography ; Human Geography

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