Equality, identity and disability

Steven R. Smith

in Equality and diversity

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426079
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302209 | DOI:
Equality, identity and disability

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This chapter explores equality, identity, disability and other related themes, and argues that, consistent with social work codes of ethics and mainstream social policy objectives, the disability rights movement (DRM) promotes universal values of equal rights and individual autonomy, drawing heavily from Kantian philosophy. However, an anti-universalised Nietzschean perspective is also promoted via the social model of disability, challenging the political orthodoxy of rights-based social movements, and the aspirations of social workers to empower disabled people. In this chapter it is argued that the Kantian and Nietzchean strands within the DRM are also incommensurable, but again, when held in tension, permit a radical assertion of disability identity, without conceding to the uncriticality of value relativism and postmodern particularism, but allowing a thorough ‘celebration of difference’ by establishing and promoting reciprocal and interdependent social relations with others who are radically different.

Keywords: equality; identity; disability; social policy objectives; disability rights movement; equal rights; individual autonomy; Kantian philosophy; Nietzschean perspective; model of disability

Chapter.  10200 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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