Thanks, Larry, for raising this. "Able-bodied" has been bothering me
since the original question was posed, and I'm kind of surprised no one else
challenged it. "Able-bodied" retains the medical model assumption that
'disability' resides in the body rather than in society. I fear for DS's
future if we don't come to understand this basic premise. Not only that,
"able-bodied" also assumes impairment renders the disabled or 'impaired' body
rather useless. Even though I am blind my body is able to do most everything
else I want it to do. Even so, society continues to disable me. The concept
of able-bodiedness also excludes cognitive and sensory features of the
lived experience of embodiment and probably more than what is coming to my
mind at the moment. I am also troubled by the continued use of 'disability'
and 'impairment' interchangeably. And I disagree with and am offended by
the assertion that everyone has "disabilities."
Re: the content of the question -- I think whether it is appropriate for
nondisabled researchers to do disabilitly research depends on their intent,
their theoretical approaches, their research models, etc. I think it's
important for disability researchers who consider themselves nondisabled to
state this throughout the project, including in the write-up.
At various times during my doctoral research, each and all the participants
mentioned they would not have responded to my call for blind participants
had I not stated I am blind because they were not willing to be used once
again by sighted researchers.
In a message dated 7/18/2009 9:06:06 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
Apart from anything else in this debate, being "able bodied" is not the
binary polar opposite of "being disabled"
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