Understanding Disability
Inclusion, Access, Diversity, and Civil Rights
by Paul T. Jaeger, Cynthia Ann Bowman
July 2005, 184pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Paperback: 978-0-313-36178-4
$20, £15, 17€, A29

Although 54 million Americans have a disability, few discussions of the issue address its various compenents in a holistic manner. The authors, both of whom have experienced disability, tackle complex issues facing the disabled, including access, diversity, and civil rights, in a human-centered manner.

Disability is rarely considered a social issue. Scholars tend to discuss it in the abstract; medical personnel view it as a health issue; and legal concerns for the disabled focus on how to advocate or protect organizations against demands for accommodation. As a result, disabled individuals are seen as bits and pieces of everyone’s constituency but their own. The writers of this work, both having long personal experiences with disabilities, offer a holistic understanding of the lives of disabled individuals from representations in the media to issues of civil rights.

Written to educate and inform readers about the social roles of disability, this accessible and informative work addresses: social classifications of disability; social reactions to disability; legal rights and classifications of persons with disabilities; issues of accessibility to information and communication technologies; representations of disability in a range of media, including literature, painting, film, televsion and advertising; and major issues shaping the comtemporary social roles of persons with disabilities. By examining the social roles of disability in the past and present from a range of perspectives and disciplines, this book reveals a portrait of the social place, limitations, and rights of persons with disabilities.


"This long-overdue book is exactly what is needed for an introductory course in disability studies. The text is well researched and readable, and even has an international perspective. It is also instructive for those who may have doubts about the academic legitimacy of disability studies and its focus on interdisciplinarity. That is, Jaeger and Bowman have managed to document the breadth and depth of the global inquiry into disability and its meaning in law, recreation, medicine, social life, economics, politics, media, immigration to the US, and technology....Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."—Choice, March 1, 2006

"[O]ffers a holistic understanding of the lives of disabled individuals, from representations in the media to issues of civil rights....Understanding Disability is designed to educate and inform readers about the social roles of disability."—Library Media Connection, September 1, 2005
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