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DISABILITY-RESEARCH  March 2004

DISABILITY-RESEARCH March 2004

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Subject:

Re: attitudes tiwards disability in Delhi

From:

anitaghai <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

anitaghai <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 6 Mar 2004 15:31:01 +0530

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Hi
I find this amazing. While I have nothing against the criticisms, as they could and must be made accurately, but the tone is extremely disturbing. Are you trying to say that studies ion the west are methodologically sound and researchers in disability from the west have a birthright to excellence. The comments such as
 Darling, it's so... SO... Not the home life of our own dear Queen...]

 [India and Pakistan were lined up along their borders,
preparing once again to attack one another...]; "wheelchair bound" [as
in: "with one wheelchair bound he was free"]; "being dirty and unkempt"
[No Beggars, Hippies or British]. ,
In fact the entire mail speaks of colonial supremacy looking at anything that comes from the third world. I would be the last person to protest against the rightful criticisms, and I have on several occasions written against the universality of the concept and in the process have critically looked at many sources. However as a disabled person keen on developing a culture sensitive account of disability , I have made sure that derogatory comments like this could be avoided. I am sure the purpose of the list is to take the discourse of disability further, and not engage in this public stripping. And I sure would like to see the "PERFECT"studies from the west which can become encyclopaedias for Indian researchers who might be interested in studying the attitudes towards disability in London or New York.
Please let us be objective, but sensitive so that if a question has to be answered, we do not do that by laughing at what might have been produced in a different context and by someone who is not so well versed with the nuances of methodology
Anita Ghai

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: m99m
  To: [log in to unmask]
  Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2004 2:42 PM
  Subject: Re: attitudes tiwards disability in Delhi


  .
  Ustun et al, "Disability & Culture", does indeed have a chapter 9 (by
  Saxena, Pal & Singh) titled "India - Delhi", as well as chapters
  purportedly on the measurement of attitudes in Bangalore and Madras
  (Chennai). Before rushing out to buy the book, it might be useful to
  consider some of the basis of these measurements.
  ce.
  Chapter 9 attempts to give an account of public knowledge and attitudes not
  only in Delhi (pop. maybe 10 million - quite a crowd) but in "North
  India" -- (maybe 300 million - but some of them are quite thin), on the
  basis of interviews with a few dozen key informants (they even had a few
  DPs) and some focus groups playing party games.

  A snatch of the results gives some insight into the mental approach of the
  organisers and participants, e.g. on p. 132, "As far as societal barriers
  were concerned, sex was thought most difficult for an individual in a
  wheelchair, and people would place fewest barriers in the way of a person
  with mental retardation keeping things tidy."

  [Darling, it's so... SO... Not the home life of our own dear Queen...]

  The level of scientific rigor may be judged by comparing items from the so-
  called 'instrument' [some kind of veena or fiddle] used by the Delhi
  group with that of the Madras group, who were supposedly doing the same
  exercise. Levels of public disapproval were compared (pp. 123, 133), for
  people within various disability 'categories', e.g. "borderline
  intelligence" [India and Pakistan were lined up along their borders,
  preparing once again to attack one another...]; "wheelchair bound" [as
  in: "with one wheelchair bound he was free"]; "being dirty and unkempt"
  [No Beggars, Hippies or British].

  In Delhi, the disapproved category "No job" (p. 133) became the
  category "Unable to keep a job" at Madras (p. 123) [note the precise
  dynamic equivalence of these two situations]; in Delhi, "No child"
  became at Madras: "Does not take care of children" [well... if you don't
  got none, you not gonna take care of none, heh?]. In
  Madras, "Alcoholism", but in Delhi, "Using alcohol" [Cheers!] The
  scores on these not entirely congruent categories (in English, let alone in
  Hindi and Tamil) were then merrily totalled up to give utterly meaningless
  All-India scores.

  Some of the chapter authors did offer their own cautions against the
  egregious flaws in the methodology, which would have been embarassing even
  in an undergraduate thesis. The editors edited their way cheerfully past
  all these tiny, nitty-picky minds, heading determinedly for their goal,
  a "universal construct of disability" - in the face of some 200 years of
  cumulative anthropological and psychological evidence and experience to the
  contrary.

  But do buy the book, for an example of the New Chutzpah to be found at the
  Intermediate Baloney Level of International Metanarrativity.

  m99m

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