SOAN 370

Disability, Identity, and Power

Anthropologists, whose work has always focused on sociocultural diversity, and sociologists, who have traditionally studied social phenomena in connection with issues of structured inequality and power, are now applying their distinct and complementary orientations to the study of disability (defined here as lifelong or chronic biological and/or psychological impairments). This course, which focuses on the sociocultural situation of persons who have (or who are socially close to someone who has) a disability, explores two dialectically interrelated themes: (1) the process of socially grounded identity construction for people with disabilities, and (2) the effects--on socially-held assumptions about disability, as well as on people with disabilities themselves--brought about by such people (and/or their caretakers) through their confrontations with various social institutions (e.g. education, health care, legal and economic systems).