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The Social Model of Disability: Europe and the Majority World


Edited by Colin Barnes and Geof Mercer (2005)

Over the last three decades, disability activists and writers have advocated the social model of disability as a comprehensive critique of orthodox academic and administrative approaches to the understanding and development of social policy for disabled people. The Social Model of Disability: Europe and the Majority World contains thirteen chapters on the application of social model inspired thinking outside of the British context.

The contributors include established figures and newcomers to the field. They raise a range of important issues and concerns central to theorising and applying social model insights in ‘developed’ and ‘majority world’ countries. Examples include the emerging debates within the European Union, including transport, law and citizenship, with case studies of Sweden, France, and Disabled Peoples’ International. There is a further emphasis on the majority world: spanning political rights and development strategies, user-led initiatives and community-based rehabilitation and case studies of Egypt and Bangladesh.

The collection explores the relevance of debates within disability studies about the form and character of social exclusion of disabled people and associated policy responses. This book will be of particular interest to academics, researchers, disabled people, professionals and policymakers with an interest in disability issues and the on-going struggle for a more equitable and just society.

The Social Model of Disability: Europe and the Majority World is now out of print. However, the full text is available electronically on our web site in the Archive section. Please use the following links:


  1. Copyright information and contents pages
  1. Understanding Impairment and Disability: towards an international perspective – Colin Barnes and Geof Mercer
  2. We’re all Europeans now! The social model of disability and European social policy – Mark Priestley
  3. Personal Assistance Reforms in Sweden: breaking the assumption of dependency? – Susanne Berg
  4. Pupil or ‘Patient’: difference, disability and education in France – Felicity Armstrong
  5. Disabled Peoples’ International: Europe and the social model of disability – Rachel Hurst
  6. Dismantling Barriers to Transport by Law: the European journey – Anna Lawson and Bryan Matthews
  7. Disabled People and the European Union: equal citizens? – Hannah Morgan and Helen Stalford
  8. One World, One People, One Struggle? Towards the global implementation of the social model of disability – Alison Sheldon
  9. Finally Included on the Development Agenda? A review of official disability and development policies – Bill Albert
  10. Definitions of Disability and Disability Policy in Egypt – Heba Hagrass
  11. An Evaluation of the Impact of Medical Services Provided by General Hospitals Compared with Services Aligned to a Social Model Perspective at a Spinal Cord Injury Centre in Bangladesh – A. K. M. Momin
  12. ‘Food’ or ‘Thought’? The social model and the majority world – Tara Flood
  13. Disability and Rehabilitation: reflections on working for the World Health Organization – Enrico Pupulin

The online text should be considered as a second edition. The page numbers in the electronic versions are different from those in the first print edition. If quoting from these documents, please reference the URL for each chapter.