Understanding Disabled Families

Replacing Tales of Burden with Ties of Interdependency

Authored by: Janice McLaughlin

Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies

Print publication date:  February  2012
Online publication date:  March  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415574006
eBook ISBN: 9780203144114
Adobe ISBN: 9781136502170


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Family life in the context of disability has been the focus of a significant amount of research across a range of disciplines. Health care studies, medicine, social policy and psychology all have a long-term interest in disability and family life; collectively they have produced a particular image of the lives of families with disabled members that documents their burden of care and celebrates the ability of those non-disabled family members able to cope with that burden. This narrow approach has been criticized by the disability movement as yet another version of disability as tragedy. To counter this, new research within disability studies, sociology and anthropology is seeking to represent alternative and positive understandings. The aim of this chapter is to discuss this new work.

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