Interdependent Discourses of Disability: A Critical Analysis of the Social/Medical Model Dichotomy
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AbstractThis thesis is an investigation into the current meaning of disability and of some forms of contemporary disability discourse. The chief provider of data for the study is the Norwegian Federation of Organizations of Disabled People (FFO), a non-governmental organization that acts as a sociopolitical umbrella for its primarily medico-diagnostic member organizations. The research questions originate in tensions that are inherent in FFO s structure and role: How do medical, social, and political discourses shape the current meaning of disability? How is the meaning of disability produced in and by texts? The thesis s four research articles provide four different points of entry for exploring these questions. Article I, "Critical discourse analysis, topoi and mystification: Disability policy documents from a Norwegian NGO", is a close reading of FFO s programmatic documents, its bylaws and a selection of consultative statements. Article II, "Is there something wrong with society, or is it just me? Social and medical knowledge in a Norwegian anti-discrimination law", deals with a 2009 piece of legislation which integrates the anti-discrimination perspective with traditional welfare state mechanisms. Article III, "False Dichotomies of Disability Politics: Theory and Practice in the Discourse of Norwegian NGO Professionals , explores the relationship between disability theory as perceived in academe and in the FFO system. Article IV, "Disability and discourse analysis: Some topics and issues", surveys disability studies literature and critically examines some of the major disputes between different theories and models of disability. In sum, the interaction between and the interdependence of the social and medical models suggest that the prevailing notion of a conflict between the two is inaccurate. A more nuanced understanding of both models will be both more accurate and more useful in furthering descriptive precision of disability as a social phenomenon and better communication between language users in the disability field.
List of articles. Articles I and II are removed from the thesis due to copyright restrictions.
Article I: Grue, J. Critical discourse analysis, topoi and mystification: Disability policy documents from a Norwegian NGO. Discourse Studies 2009, 11(3):285–308. doi:10.1177/1461445609102446
Article II: Grue, J. Is there something wrong with society, or is it just me? Social and medical knowledge in a Norwegian antidiscrimination law. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 2010, 12(3): 165–178. doi:10.1080/15017410903338853
Article III: Grue, J. False Dichotomies of Disability Politics: Theory and Practice in the Discourse of Norwegian NGO Professionals. Journal of Language and Politics, 2011, 10(1): 109–127. Publisher should be contacted for permission to re-use or reprint the material in any form. doi:10.1075/jlp.10.1.06gru
Article IV: Grue, J. Disability and discourse analysis: Some topics and issues. Discourse & Society, 2011, 22(5):532-546. doi:10.1177/0957926511405572