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Wilson, S. (2001). Disability: Controversial Debates and Psychological Perspective by Deborah Marks. London and New York: Routledge, 1999, 217 pages.. Free Associations, 8(4):678-681.

(2001). Free Associations, 8(4):678-681

Disability: Controversial Debates and Psychological Perspective by Deborah Marks. London and New York: Routledge, 1999, 217 pages.

Review by:
Shula Wilson, BA, MA, PGCE, DipCouns, UKCP Reg, BAC TAcc

What is the meaning of ‘disability’? Who is disabled? What is the actual cause of disability? Is it the impairment of the individual, or is it the shortcoming of the environment, or perhaps a combination of both? Is ‘disability’ a relative or an absolute term? How do people in different cultures and political systems use and abuse, invest in or avoid ‘disability’. These are some of the questions that this book explores, offering a wide and engaging overview of the issues which face disabled people and their social context. Throughout the book Marks addresses the diversity of approaches to and perceptions of disability with an academic rigour and precision, without losing sight of the personal and individual experiences of disability.

At times, reading this book feels like watching a juggler throwing and catching many balls all at once, for it presents a panoramic view of the phenomenon called disability. Its main thrust is the argument that disability is an integral part of the human condition rather than a separated ‘special’ issue.

This book is intended to serve as a textbook. It is didactic and methodically structured, and the author takes great care not to appear subjective or one-sided. Marks' contribution is twofold. The first is the collation and presentation of existing views and information about disability. The second is the attempt to instigate a debate on disability and to bring it into the different arenas of our lives.

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