Why is the Sociopolitical Model Also Known as the Minority Group Model?
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There have been many attempts to define disability throughout times and suggest how people with impairments should be treated. Those views eventually transformed into models, which had a certain understanding of disabilities and determined the attitudes towards them. Some models, for example, the medical one, were harsh towards disabled people while the recent developments are more benevolent. The minority group model views people with disabilities as experiencing discrimination and the disability itself as a public concern.
The minority group model is also referred to as a sociopolitical model or vice versa. The minority part comes from people with disabilities self-identifying as minorities due to the fact that such population is not numerous within society and specific discrimination that deprives disabled people of full rights (Smart, 2016). Even compared to other minorities, people with disabilities experience harsher treatment, mostly because there are fewer mechanisms to protect them (Smart, 2016). High healthcare costs and disparaging views on disabilities are also relevant to people with impairments, solidifying them as a separate group with its unique needs (Smart, 2016). However, some people can belong to several minority groups, and for them, the protection mechanisms could be dubious. Overall, disabled people are a well-defined and self-identified minority group with specific needs and discrimination experiences different from other minorities.
The sociopolitical nature of the model can be explained through its compounds, the social and the political. As a minority group, disabled people are discriminated against by society with negative views of the disability (Smart, 2016). However, those attitudes should be prone to change and deconstruction, as the disability’s detrimental consequences are defined by society and fueled by “experts.” (Smart, 2016). Therefore, the minority group of disabled people seeks release from the prescribed notions of what they should be, which are extremely harmful. It could be achieved with times, which is not an ideal scenario, or through the disability rights movement (Smart, 2016). The latter brings the issue into the political field, as the legislators and other elected officials are expected to address it because disabled people are their either existing or the potential electorate. However, it will also take time, as it was in the case of other minority groups, but a full-fledged political movement may hasten the process. Altogether, both names of the model can be explained by the fact that disabled people are a minority group within the sociopolitical sphere, where they can fight for their rights.
What is the Theory of Marginality and How Does It Apply to Second-Class Citizenship of Persons with Disabilities?
The theory of marginality evolved through time, and its original concept of marginalized people also changed. Initially, it was primarily concerned with the duality of one’s identity and the conflict between its previous and current iterations (Giardiello, 2016). The issue arose when a person tried to enter a bigger social group but faced difficulties, shedding the less sanctioned group’s values (Giardiello, 2016). Thus, the general group did not properly accept such people, but they also could not return to the previous one. Or, at least, they were unable to do so without undergoing considerable changes, which constituted the marginalized man (Giardiello, 2016). However, the concept gradually shifted towards marginality as being pushed from the center of a group or society as a whole (Henrickson & Fouché, 2017). The ostracization is done by those who wield more power or access to better resources and rights towards minoritized groups (Henrickson & Fouché, 2017). Therefore, the modern theory of marginality is devoted to the relationship between the center and the periphery rather than the conflict within one person.
For people with disabilities, marginalization seems to be a relevant concept. The older theory was, perhaps, barely applicable, as most disabled people were unable to leave their group easily, but the current idea of marginality could explain their treatment. As previously established, people with impairments are a minority group that experiences discrimination from society (Smart, 2016). Moreover, it deprives disabled people of some fundamental rights, especially those concerned with healthcare and personal protection (Smart, 2016). Therefore, people with disabilities are relegated to being second-class citizens; they are pushed from the center of a society populated by full-fledged citizens. Those who belong to several minority groups could be potentially more marginalized, as their vulnerability increases (Henrickson & Fouché, 2017). Overall, the modern concept of marginality shows the mechanism of how disabled people become lesser citizens.
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As being a minority group and marginalization are closely related, it implies that the solution to being marginalized is similar. Therefore, the disability rights movement and educating people may improve the situation (Henrickson & Fouché, 2017). Much of the stigmatization and consequent marginalization could result from that central society being ignorant about disabled people and their lives. Although it does not excuse the majority who enjoy the superior citizenship status, cooperation would be more beneficial than confrontation. In conclusion, apart from the fact that marginalization amineralizationionise directly linked and deprives disabled people of their rights, they also have the same solution.
Giardiello, M. (2016). Marginality and modernity. Transaction Publishers.
Henrickson, M., & Fouché, C. (2017). Vulnerability and marginality in human services. Taylor & Francis.
Smart, J. (2016). Disability, society, and the individual (3rd ed.). PRO-ED.