The social model of disability, the independent living and the idea of “care”

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    Abstract

    This article discusses the relationships between three concepts that are key for contemporary disability policies: social model of disability, independent living, and care. The first part explores the impact of the social model and independent living on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the conflict between the social model and independent living, on the one hand, and the idea of ‘care’, on the other. This conflict is addressed by making recourse to studies of the ‘ethics of care’ and by introducing a distinction between ‘paternalist care’ and ‘egalitarian care’. In the second part of the article, these concepts are used in an analysis of contemporary Bulgarian disability policies. This includes a critique of the barriers to the independent living faced by disabled people in Bulgaria, and more specifically, of the continuing institutionalization of disabled Bulgarians, the lack of adequate personal assistance, the difficulties with providing access to inclusive education for disabled children, and the medical assessment of disability. The conclusion emphasizes that the approach of ‘paternalist care’ still dominates in Bulgarian disability policies. This significantly complicates the attempts to apply the ‘ethics of care’ in the Bulgarian context in a way that affirms disabled people’s rights.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-24
    JournalCritique and Humanism Journal
    Volume55
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

    Keywords

    • social model of disability
    • independent living
    • ethics of care
    • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    • Bulgaria

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