chapter  8
20 Pages

Is there a disability culture? A syncretisation of three possible world views

BySUSAN PETERS

According to Fine and Asch (Nagler, 1993, p. 52), 74% of disabled Americans feel a common identity with one another and 45% see themselves as part of a minority, with a particular group consciousness and specific referent group. Yet, to some disabled people-both in the US and worldwide-disability is not necessarily central to their self-concept and self-definition. Still others speak of living multicultural lives. Others who are lesbian, or gay and disabled sometimes experience a ‘hopelessness of the heart’—belonging to several separate communities, but rarely finding acceptance in any (O’Toole & Bregnate, 1993). Some disabled people live in abject poverty and issues of culture take a back seat to economic survival. So the question becomes, is there a disability culture? Or are disabled people simply individuals-or at best a socio/political minority group-striving to fit in to the dominant culture (whatever that is)?