Functionalist theory and disability “Influential functionalists” emphasise the medicine role to cure and support “normal” functioning of people and society
Functionalist theory and disability
“Influential functionalists” emphasise the medicine role to cure and support “normal” functioning of people and society. In this model, it is considered that the patient surely wants to recover. In this theory “the sick” wishing to get well. It can make people with incurable diseases, including disabled people, seem to be deviant.
The variant of functionalism, the theory of normalisation, is the cornerstone of some programs which claim that their programs allowed disabled people to live culturally full-fledged life.
The functionalism confuses impairment and disability with a disease. Being not able to recognise that the disabled people it is not necessarily “something wrong with them”, it simply reproduces discriminatory norms and values. It is evident that the situation with disabled people cannot be understood or transformed by any policy based on narrow theories of usual normality or uniformity.
Parsons T. The social system. Glencoe, IL: Free Press; 1951.
The critical theory considers problems of disabled people as the product of unequal society.
The critical theory perceives a concept of disability as social oppression and discrimination, the limitation life of people. While disability is assumed to be a single question of the personal tragedy or heroic triumph over difficulty, disabled people are expelled from society. Usual education, employment, public transport and other things (most of which people can consider self-evident) remain generally closed for disabled people, or at least they represent obstacles in which each person has to be engaged individually.
Sutherland A. Disabled we stand. London: Souvenir Press; 1981.
Watson N. Health promotion and physically disabled people: implications of the national health policy. Critical Public Health. 1995;6(2):38–43.