Thursday, October 26

The Social Model

I woke up this afternoon after a couple of hours sleep and the first thing I thought of was The Social Model of Disability. Oh dear I must be ill or something, I'm sort of ashamed to admit that's what I was thinking, really there must be something wrong with me right?!!! Well I guess my brain has been chewing this one over for a while and unbeknown to me I was bringing my work home with me. So I bet you wonder what the social model is? Because if you are not disabled, chances are you've never heard of it. Well basically this model says that you are only disabled by society's failure to adapt to your need or provide you with what you require to live a life equal to the rest of society. This is opposed to the medical model which only saw the person in terms of their illness or disability. Am I right so far? Hope so, I have to think hard on this. Now Ive been thinking this over for sometime and I really find it hard to accept as a principal. I know its better to see people as a whole so a holistic approach is far more appropriate than the medical model, but can the Social model be any nearer the truth?

I sound almost heretical, or just plain ignorant perhaps, but the social model strikes me a bit as people saying ' hey we aren't disabled its all societies fault'. I find this a bit hard to go along with. Firstly how much do we want from society at large? Do we just want to keep demanding changes or do we work with what we've got? I mean should I demand a tarmacked path alongside Hadrian's Wall so I can 'walk the wall' or should I accept that its not appropriate? At the end of the day I have to accept that I am disabled, not through the failure of society to put ramps everywhere, but the plain fact is I cant stand up let alone go anywhere, and nothing will change that. That is what is disabling me, this is the reason for me not walking Hadrian's wall, not an accessible path.

So anyway I have dug myself a big hole here with which to be chastised. I'm no nearer finding the answer in my head or coming up with another model. Its just a thought for today I suppose.

1 comment:

  1. I wrote a fairly lengthy post about the Social Model earlier this year.

    The point is not that we think that all our limitations are due to society, but that we differentiate between those limitations which cannot be helped (i.e you can't walk) and which can (you can't access a shop because there are steps).

    And it is all about being reasonable - it is not about tarmacking the National Parks or any such thing. It is about achieving equity, not uniformity. Nobody can enable me to go out clubbing; that's my tough luck. But there are a lot of things I want to do and ought to be able to do, regardless of my 'medical' limitations.