Essay: Disability and Society in Scotland

Pages: 9 (3225 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 13  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Be that as it may as Davis (1996: 109-10 as cited in Kemshall, 2009) said the following about risk and the growing role it played in decision making: risk is a key but much contested concern in the health profession.

The value base of disability studies

In "an audit of where we are now" Oliver highlights and presents a few different concerns that have come to light. These include the idea that "disability" is a notion of domination like racial discrimination and sexism (Abberley 1987) as well as the acquisitive notion of disability (Oliver 1990); the notion of institutionalized discrimination against people who are disabled (Barnes 1991); critiquing charities and the projection of disabled people as tragic individuals (Oliver, 1990); and post-modernist theorizing (Oliver, 1990).

To take it a step further Barton (1986) summarizes the main works regarding disability and society as the progress of a social model of disability, the social building of multiple facet of disability, professional practice and theory, the Personal experiences of disabled people and research methodology and practice

There is one chapter in particular in Len Barton's Disability and Society (Barton, 1986) which proves to be a useful reference point and a useful starting point for further study in the area of disability in Scotland. I feel here a definition of how Tim Booth defines descriptive methods should be elaborated in detail. He explains that descriptive methods are methods geared towards describing people's subjective states and experiences and holding true to the meaning they give to their own lives (p237). The following are the core elements he lists of the descriptive methods he discusses: 1) People are treated as expert witnesses to their own lives as to gain a point of entrance in to their lives. Their stories provide a point of entrance to their lives through the reader's imagination; 2) to give one the ability of making non-concrete claims more concrete by anchoring them in tangible and real experiences; 3) they help to counter the problem of the vanishing individual where scholars and theorists over generalize so that the loose sight of the human aspect of what they are dealing with; 4) they form a link between the disabled individual and the community by allowing access to people's lives; and lastly 5) they help counteract an over determined view of reality. This is caused by theories that subject the world to behave by the rules of rationality and structured order when in reality the world is nothing like this (Booth 1996: 240).

The endorsement of disabled individual's differing opinion

The shift to community care and the process of deinstitutionalization have increased focus on risk. Especially on the assessment of risk and in the provision of resources related to risk. But it remains that risk is a highly contested topic in which the concepts of risk taking and risk reduction can be polar opposites. Professional views of risk reduction take precedence over the individual's right to take risks. Community care is busy with risk management and the avoidance of risk. This makes user rights take a back seat.

It's strange to note that such a derogatory term as " worship of safety " can be used to describe the behaviour of mental health policies. They say that the history of the mentally ill is synonymous with the history of social control and normalization and regulation. The typical segregation of the asylum is still present in the doctrines of community care. The social control function has now been transferred from the community to the asylum. Deinstitutionalization is characterized by widespread management of riskier personalities. Individualization on account of individual targeting transfers attention from structural issues to regulating behaviour. When these typical strategies fail they attract the attention of the general and the mass public. Community care traditionally has been under intense scrutiny from the media and the general public regarding its policies.

The input of disabled individuals in attaining citizenship

Responses to enquiry shortcomings have been propagated in the form of agency and interagency partnerships in Scotland. The Clunis Report in particular draws attention to the dynamics of the failure of inter-agency communication. And on the other hand Mitchell Report (Blom-Cooper 1996 as cited in Kemshall, 2009) proposes adoption of child protection multi-agency systems. But for either one to be effective there must exist, a system of partnerships to help complete the tasks they set out to accomplish.

The Department of Health report Building Bridges (1995 as cited in Kemshall, 2009) analyzed the systems already in place in Scotland and took it a step further and recommended further systems that could be potentially fruitful. In 1998 the Secretary of State for Health, Frank Dobson, decreed that community care was failing. He further said that he wanted a third area in health provision. He wanted a review of modern therapies and treatment techniques (Fennell 1999: 104 as cited in Kemshall, 2009; see also Department of Health 1998c as cited in Kemshall, 2009). Minister Paul Boateng describes the government's obsession with risk and safety. He said that not complying with established treatment programs wasn't allowed. He further said that he and his team were to use his own formulation determined to develop mental health programs. He stated that new policies were needed to govern the current health programs and any further program which arose (From Fennell 1999: 110 as cited in Kemshall, 2009).

This is the opposite to the idea of civic participation it is also opposite to the idea of reintegration. Numerous researchers propagate for mental health services. The Mental Health Act of 1995 and other legislations regulate mental health policy. This includes among others the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, The Spectrum of Care (Department of Health 1996 as cited in Kemshall, 2009), Building Bridges (Department of Health 1995 as cited in Kemshall, 2009). According to O'Rourke and Hammond (2000: 2 as cited in Kemshall, 2009) the need is now great for a comprehensive risk management strategy. There are two key developments regarding risk management.

Assertive outreach (Ryan 1999 as cited in Kemshall, 2009; Ryan et al. 1999 as cited in Kemshall, 2009);

RAMAS, also known as 'risk assessment, management and audit systems' (O'Rourke and Hammond 2000 as cited in Kemshall, 2009).

Conclusion

In conclusion, Hughes asserts that "The growing fascination with the body in disability studies can be traced to the mid to late 1990s, when disabled feminists and the sociology of the body met with the social model distinction between impairment and disability and found it wanting (see Hughes 2002a). The linguistic, cultural and somatic turns in western thought have made it difficult for the social model of disability to continue to ignore or be indifferent to the body and impairment. The effort to sustain such an agnostic position has fragmented, particularly as the embodied differences among and between disabled people have become manifest in new social and political aspirations. Bodies matter, most importantly, in our somatic society (Turner 1996, 1) because they no longer function 'outside the internally referential systems of modernity' but have become themselves 'reflexively mobilized' (Giddens 1991, 8). The body became an ineligible subject in social model discourse because the medical model was impairment driven and, thus, represented the terrain of the oppressor" (Hughes, 2009).

References

Abberley, P (1987) 'The concept of oppression and the development of a social theory of disability' Disability, Handicap & Society, 2(1) pp. 5-19.

Barnes, C. (1990) Cabbage Syndrome: The Social Construction of Dependence. Basingstoke: Falmer.

Barnes, C. (1991) Disabled People in Britain and Discrimination: A Case for Anti-Discrimination Legislation. Belper: British Council of Organisations of Disabled People.

Barton, L (1986) Disability and Society (Emerging Issues and Insights). Pearson Education.

Booth, T (1996) "Sounds of still voices: issues in the use of narrative methods with people who have learning difficulties," in Barton, L (ed), Disability and Society Longman

Brisenden, S. (1986) 'Independent living and the medical model of disability' Disability, Handicap & Society, 1(2) pp. 173-78.

Blom-Cooper 1996 In Kemshall, H. (2009). Mental Health, Mental Disorder, Risk and Public Protection. In Risk, Social Policy and Welfare. Open University.

Carpenter, M. (2000) 'It's a small world': mental health policy under welfare capitalism since 1945. Sociology of Health and Illness, 22(5), 602-20.

Corbett, J. (1991) 'So, who wants to be normal?' Disability. Handicap & Society, 6(3) pp. 259-60.

CPA: Department of Health, 1990a In Kemshall, H. (2009). Mental Health, Mental Disorder, Risk and Public Protection. In Risk, Social Policy and Welfare. Open University.

Department of Health, 1991e In Kemshall, H. (2009). Mental Health, Mental Disorder, Risk and Public Protection. In Risk, Social Policy and Welfare. Open University.

Department of Health, 1995 In Kemshall, H. (2009). Mental Health, Mental Disorder, Risk and Public Protection. In Risk, Social Policy and Welfare. Open University.

Department of Health, 1996 In Kemshall, H. (2009). Mental Health, Mental Disorder, Risk and Public Protection. In Risk, Social Policy and Welfare. Open University.

Department of Health, 1998c In… [END OF PREVIEW]

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