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The book "Disability Studies Today" emphasizes about the existing development of intellectual attempts concerning individuals with impairments in North America and the United Kingdom. The social materialistic perspective arose from the theorizing and experiences of academic activists in the nineteen nineties. The book highlights social view foregrounds and the environments which have a socially disabling capacity in which individuals living with medical sociological challenges and those with impairments are subjected to. The book is a collection of disability studies and it has a combination of key reference points and theoretical orientations (Barnes, et al, 2002).
According to the UPIAS (Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation), disability is defined as the restriction or disadvantage of activity which is caused by a temporary social organization that takes little or no account of individuals who have impairments and thus excluding them from the mainstream of Social Acts. The book "Disability Studies Today" by Collin Barnes, Mike Oliver ad Len Barton therefore seeks to carry out studies of the lifestyles and aspirations of the disabled people. The book also discusses the use of the social model which gives the much needed disability studies agenda through a theoretical dimension coupled with a focus by British writers on reconceptualizaton of disability (Mercer, et al, 2005).
Primarily, the collection of the book is British but there is also one Canadian author and two American authors with an Australian legal judgment. The authors' orienting perspectives range from politics and policy, sociological, emerging sociology of the body and sociology of impairment, social policy and social inclusion, human rights and globalization theory, activist and a paper on disability and the exigencies comprising of emancipator research (Hulatt, 2005).
The Book, "Disability Studies Today" seeks to ascertain whether a study on a disability perspective is able to yield an agreed agenda for welfare and healthy policy. The book draws its contents from a number of influences which includes writings from disabled people, personal experiences, sociological insights and it gives a theoretical explanation of the ideological and materialistic foundations on which modern responses to disability are founded. The social model's issue is also addressed as being a vital theoretical base on which research on sociology can be conducted (Mercer, et al, 2010).
The book in its introduction, gives a broad definition of disability by the authors that is Mike Oliver, Len Barton and Collins Barness. The authors list various specialist journals and disability studies that have been carried out around the world. The authors are contented with the fact that all sociological theories and insights are able to play a vital role towards the development of disability studies. The book places its major focus on theoretical advancement and innovation through important policy and political implications for both non-disabled and disabled individuals. The book discuses how disability studies in the United States of America have been marked by a dis-concerning insularity and a historical insensibility and stresses the need for mutual dialogue between activists, scholars and policy makers to address the concerns.
The book explains how individuals with postmodernist persuasion and disabled feminists have put on their agenda the intersection of disability with other types of oppression like race, gender, social class, age and sexual orientation. The issue of impairment is also highlighted in the fourth chapter where it is argued that it is has been impossible for the body of sociology to give a chance to draw disability studies into major sociology and how the physicians have held the view that disability is a sickness (Fitzgerald, 2009).
The book reminds the reader of the fact that disabled individuals will only judge the disability theory through its role in establishing social change and not by research based on its contribution to research or academic discourses. It is argued that future developments in disability theory will be achieved through addressing challenges of contradictions between diversity and commonality (Stagg, et al, 2006).
Borsay draws the reader's attention by pointing out that in disability studies; history is a missing part of the jigsaw. She argues out how the assessment of the historical models that were established by historical scientists have been used to start a sociological history of disability through which culturalism and materialism have been known to be complementary instead of being mutually exclusive. Paul Abberley argues that if disability is explained to be a type of social oppression, individuals must then establish an understanding of how the society will resemble if individuals with impairments were not disabled. Radical and conservative classical social theories are also discussed and how they can be used to address the relationship between social and work inclusion (Merriam, et al, 2009).
The development of political activity on the disability issue in the UK over the past two decades is charted by Phil Lee. He explains that there have been limited political gains despite the fact that the Disabled People's movement has achieved progress aimed at placing on the political agenda, the rights of disabled people and advancing the social model of disability. Chapter nine examines a variety of concepts which were previously adopted as a means through which the status of disabled people can be improved and proposals which may aid towards the achievement of this objective in future (Gabel, et al, 2006).
Issues raised by the globalized political economy have also been addressed and the fact that globalization has impacted powerfully on the lives of the disabled individuals. The economic changes that are associated with globalization and the different levels adopted on the significance in the literature of political economy. Globalization is discussed in the context of the relationship between the human rights and disability on an international level. It is argued that for social justice to be attained, then the protection of social rights should be considered to be the minimum average of life (Higham, 2008).
The social model of disability in consideration with the reformulation of disability is also given attention in the book. The way in which the social model led to the nurturing of a new way of research paradigm is given reference in the last chapters of the book. The need by academics to maintain strong bonds with disabled individuals and their organizations because of the increasing need within the academy in disability studies is also explained.