The book provides an accessible introduction to many of the current theoretical perspectives on disability; enabling readers to challenge the taken-for-granted nature of traditional knowledge and assumptions within the rehabilitation, health and community care industries, and encouraging a more critical approach both to the nature of rehabilitation following injury or illness and to the 'problem' of physical difference and disability. Through its interrogation and exploration of new theoretical perspectives on disability and rehabilitation, this book provides a unique text for students and practitioners of nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and social work and for educators and researchers in these fields.
Although rehabilitation practitioners claim to aspire to client-centred practice and advocate participatory modes of research, rehabilitation theory remains curiously estranged both from theoretical perspectives developed by disabled/disability theorists and from critical perspectives on 'disability' that are emerging from other academic disciplines. Thus immune from alternate views, rehabilitation practitioners fail to question the premise that their professional assumptions are correct or 'right'. Contemporary theorists raise important questions, for example, about professional power, concepts of normality, independence and the physical body - issues central to rehabilitation - as well as to the role of the cultural environment in producing prejudice, the role of the social environment in creating disadvantage; and to issues of power and privilege and of the systemic oppression of disabled people.
This book provides an introduction to the expanding body of critical work on disability by theorists from a range of perspectives, illustrating ways in which their theories and insights contest or support assumptions within rehabilitation theory. The book argues for a cross-fertilisation of ideas and challenges hierarchies of power in which nurses and therapists privilege their own assumptions, perspectives and knowledge while overlooking or ignoring the perspectives both of disabled people and of other theorists.
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