Redefining Boundaries and Extending Horizons
Edited By Shridevi Rao and Maya Kalyanpur
Chapter 8: Colloquial Language and Disability: Local Contexts and Implications for Inclusion
Interpretations and understandings of disability have evolved significantly over the last few decades. Essentialist understandings of disability originating from the dominant medical model have been subject to intense scrutiny and critique, particularly in the North (Biklen & Kliewer, 2006; Linton, 2010; Wendell, 1996). Disrupting traditional understandings of disability that focus on disability as a deficit within the person, current discourse in the field of disability studies emanating from the social model on disability has called for recognition of oppressive conditions, lack of accommodations, and the pervasive presence of pejorative attitudes toward disability that frame the experience of disability (Barnes, Oliver, & Barton, 2008; Shakespeare, 2013). Central to the evolving discourse on disability has been a focus on language and terminology typically used to describe disability. While the discourse on language and the lens it offers to understand potential constructions of disability have received much attention in the field of disability studies, relatively little is known about local terms that are used to describe disability in South Asia. What do these terms denote and what is their significance? What are the meanings imputed to disability as visible through these terms? What kinds of insights do they provide with regard to local, cultural, contextual, and indigenous interpretations of disability? In what ways do they diverge from the interpretations of seemingly similar terms in the West? What are the implications for the use of such terms?
This chapter draws on the findings of a qualitative study that focused on the perspectives...
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