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