chapter  1
19 Pages

Disability theory and policy

In order to understand something about the key issues which surround the complex relationships between modern sport, disability and society which we examine in this book, it is helpful to have some appreciation of the various theoretical explanations of disability and to explore some key developments in disability policy. This is important for, as we shall explain elsewhere, the ways in which disabled people have been treated historically by other members of the wider society, as well as how disability and the closely related concept of impairment have been conceptualized, are vital pre-requisites for understanding how disability sport has developed and is understood. In this chapter, therefore, we shall briefly examine: (i) some of the major theoretical explanations of disability; and (ii) the emergence and development of disability policy which has been designed to enhance disabled people’s experiences and lives in the wider society. Before doing so however, it is not possible to examine in great detail, here, either the history and theoretical explanations of disability or the extent to which disability policy has been successful in achieving the desired objectives. Readers who wish to find out more about these issues might usefully consult any of the important works by some of the key authors within the disability studies field, including Colin Barnes, Geof Mercer, Jenny Morris, Mike Oliver and Tom Shakespeare.