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Understanding Disability Policy

In an era of scarce social resources the question of the changing social policy constructions and responses to disabled people has become increasingly important. Paradoxically, some disabled people are realising new freedoms and choices never before envisioned, whilst others are prey to major retractions in public services and aggressive attempts to redefine who counts as 'genuinely disabled'. Understanding disability policy locates disability policy into broader social policy and welfare policy writings and goes beyond narrow statutory evaluations of welfare to embrace a range of indicators of disabled people's welfare. The book critically explores the roles of social security, social support, poverty, socio-economic status, community safety, official discourses and spatial change in shaping disabled people's opportunities. It also situates welfare and disability policy in the broader conceptual shifts to the social model of disability and its critics. Finally it explores the possible connection between changing official and academic constructions of disability and their implications for social policy in the 21st century. The book is supported by a companion website, containing additional materials for both students and lecturers using the book, which is available from the link above.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Contextualising disability welfare policy; Cure, care and protect: the paternalist policy heritage; Clauses for conditionality: activating disabled adults; Aiming high enough? Disabled children and the mainstream lives; Getting it right? The impact of recent disability policy; Out of the labyrinth: the disability benefits system unpacked; Widening the policy gaze: what can we learn from comparative disability policy analysis; Conclusions.

About the Author

Alan Roulstone is Professor of Applied Social Sciences (Disability Policy) at Northumbria University and Honorary Professor at Swansea University. Alan is a disabled person who has written and researched extensively around disability policy and practice. Simon Prideaux is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, Sociology & Disability Studies at the University of Leeds. Simon has written extensively on policy issues and policy change, and has current critical interests in the impact of neo-liberalist policies on disabled people.


'Disability policy has changed dramatically over the last fifty years and especially so since the turn of 21st century. Roulstone and Prideaux have produced a comprehensive and accessible analysis of these changes that will prove to be an invaluable text for students, researchers and policy analysts across a range of disciplines: highly recommended'. Colin Barnes, University of Leeds. "This comprehensive and engaging book is a valuable addition to disability studies and to social policy more generally. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with either the legacy of social policy responses to the 'problem' of disability or with current debates about the future development of disability policy." Hannah Morgan, Lancaster University

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