The second half of the twentieth century saw the emergence and increasing influence of the disability rights movement in the United States and UK. Disability activists played a key role in increasing the visibility of disabled people, making a powerful case for equality and highlighting widespread social, political, economic and cultural discrimination. Alongside battles for equal access to education, employment opportunities, participation in political processes and so on, activists also sought to challenge dominant cultural representations of disability (the disabled person as freak, outsider, recipient of charity) that underpinned deeply entrenched negative attitudes (including fear, repulsion and pity) amongst the non-disabled population (Gartner and Joe 1987; Hevey 1992; Oliver 1996).