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Community psychology: towards an empowering vision of disability

Goodley, Dan A. and Lawthom, Rebecca (2005) Community psychology: towards an empowering vision of disability. The Psychologist, 18 (7). pp. 423-425. ISSN 0952-8229

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Abstract

Is psychology a source of oppression for disabled people, or a resource for enabling individual and collective empowerment? Historically, psychology’s impairment focus has risked presenting a personal tragedy view of disabled people. This must not remain the case. British disability studies – the radical academic and social movement that has given rise to the social model of disability – demands that psychologists rethink their understandings and practices in relation to ‘impairment’ and ‘disability’. If psychology is to be of relevance to disabled people then it needs to discard its view of impairment-as-tragedy; question why people with impairments are socially excluded; and, crucially, include disabled people in research processes that aim to challenge this exclusion. We suggest that such challenges can be met through bringing together the ideas of community psychology and disability studies.

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