Framing Disability: Comparing Individualist and Collectivist Societies

Framing Disability: Comparing Individualist and Collectivist Societies © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/156913210X12548146054985 Comparative Sociology 9 (2010) 165–181 brill.nl/coso C O M P A R A T I V E S O C I O L O G Y Framing Disability: Comparing Individualist and Collectivist Societies Heinz-Dieter Meyer State University of New York-Albany (SUNY), EAPS, ED 316, Albany, NY 12222, USA hmeyer@albany.edu Abstract In this paper I use international diff erences in disability rates as a window to address the question how national culture infl uences a nation’s understanding and practice of disability. I apply the well-established distinction between individual- istic and collectivistic cultures to explore the relationship between culture and disability rates. I argue and fi nd support for the hypothesis that individualistic cultures exhibit higher rates of disability. In the second part I add cultural and institutional detail to the account. While individualistic and collectivist cultures both value assistance to the disabled, only the Western individualist tradition pro- duces a rights-based approach to disability. Keywords individualism, collectivism, disability, education, comparative sociology Introduction Disability has become a worldwide concern. Over the past two decades a far-reaching consensus has emerged that non-recognition of a person’s dis- ability is a major roadblock on the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Sociology Brill

Framing Disability: Comparing Individualist and Collectivist Societies

Comparative Sociology, Volume 9 (2): 165 – Jan 1, 2010

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1569-1322
eISSN
1569-1330
D.O.I.
10.1163/156913210X12548146054985
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/156913210X12548146054985 Comparative Sociology 9 (2010) 165–181 brill.nl/coso C O M P A R A T I V E S O C I O L O G Y Framing Disability: Comparing Individualist and Collectivist Societies Heinz-Dieter Meyer State University of New York-Albany (SUNY), EAPS, ED 316, Albany, NY 12222, USA hmeyer@albany.edu Abstract In this paper I use international diff erences in disability rates as a window to address the question how national culture infl uences a nation’s understanding and practice of disability. I apply the well-established distinction between individual- istic and collectivistic cultures to explore the relationship between culture and disability rates. I argue and fi nd support for the hypothesis that individualistic cultures exhibit higher rates of disability. In the second part I add cultural and institutional detail to the account. While individualistic and collectivist cultures both value assistance to the disabled, only the Western individualist tradition pro- duces a rights-based approach to disability. Keywords individualism, collectivism, disability, education, comparative sociology Introduction Disability has become a worldwide concern. Over the past two decades a far-reaching consensus has emerged that non-recognition of a person’s dis- ability is a major roadblock on the

Journal

Comparative SociologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2010

Keywords: comparative sociology; education; disability; individualism; collectivism

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