Understanding disability: from ‘personal tragedy’ to social disadvantage

Laura Hemingway

in Disabled people and housing

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9781847428066
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302094 | DOI:
Understanding disability: from ‘personal tragedy’ to social disadvantage

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  • Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility


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This chapter provides an overview of key debates in discussions around approaches to understanding disability. It points to the shift in thinking about what constitutes ‘disability’, from an individual approach to a social understanding of disability, and the developments we have seen in relation to these. It includes the more traditional, or individualistic, understanding of disability and impairment, sometimes referred to as the ‘medical’ model, and the social model of disability that has become increasingly recognised as a more appropriate explanation for the disadvantage encountered by people with impairments. The essential claim is that while debates are ongoing about the social model, the core elements of the model remain central to looking at housing for disabled people.

Keywords: disability; impairment; social disadvantage; housing; disabled people

Chapter.  6156 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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