chapter  31
12 Pages

Conceptual issues in childhood and disability: integrating theories from childhood and disability studies

ByJohn Davis

This chapter considers a range of different theoretical positions concerning disabled childhoods (e.g., deficit, social model, holistic and postmodern/structuralist). It charts a shift from medical model writing that judged disabled children as being passive victims in need of being fixed (e.g., in respect to the ‘norm’ for their age) (Watson and Shakespeare 1998; Priestley 1998; Davis et al. 2003), through social model approaches that pointed to the social-structural, materialist and attitudinal aspects of disablement, to complex postmodern/structural notions of disability and childhood that consider issues of agency, politics and social justice. It concludes by promoting a more complex and politically nuanced approach to childhood and disability that recognizes the diverse identities of disabled children and balances notions of agency, fluidity and social oppression.