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Disability Studies and Post-Colonialism. Slamet Thohari. Seminar of Disability Studies. Disability theories:. Medical. Talcott Parson. Personal Tragedy Thories. Deviance. institutionalization. institutionalization. New Perspectives at 70 th.

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disability studies and post colonialism

Disability Studies and Post-Colonialism


Seminar of Disability Studies

disability theories
Disability theories:
  • Medical

Talcott Parson

Personal Tragedy Thories




new perspectives at 70 th
New Perspectives at 70th
  • is a social problem, or “disability” is caused by social structure and environment, then people become a disabled is due to the social oppression.
  • Social Model in UK
  • Mike Oliver (1983, 1990, 1996) Barnes (1991) dan Vic Finkelstein( 1980; 1981) and other people in UK.)
  • Independent Living in Berkeley USA
  • David Pfeiffer (Hawaii)
medical vs social model
Medical Vs Social Model


Social Model

post colonialism
  • Postcolonial theories share “a social, political, and moral concern about the history and legacy of colonialism – how it continues to shape people’s lives, well-being, and life opportunities” (Young, 2001 in Browne, Smye & Varcoe, 2005, p. 19).

Western power

Something Defined

Object of Charity


Something Rationalized



1. Political oppression

2. Economic oppression

3. Social/cultural oppression

4. Psychological oppression

Remains Today

Legacies of Colonialism

New Colonialism?

postcolonial theory
Postcolonial Theory
  • Destabilizing  western Way of Thinking,
  • Creating space for the Subaltern  or marginalized groups
  • Clearing space from dominant discourse
  • Producing an alternative discourse instead of the dominant discourse.
example java indonesia
Example: Java, Indonesia

Disability is Magical

Javanese society considered person who had a supernatural power and must be respected.


Medical brought by the Dutch in 1621.

  • People with disabilities as “medical problems”.
  • Categorized as “abnormal”

in 1808.

colonial legacies on disability
Colonial Legacies on Disability
  • Medical Standards in educations
  • Medical Standard in Civil Servant
  • Medical Standard in Politics

Social Pathologies

Department of Social Affairs

the other example
The other example

American Legacies


Social Pathologies

about 1974 and the years after
About 1974 and the Years after

ICIDH ( International Classification of Impairment ,Disability and Health)

Segregated and isolated based on their disabilities

standardization of sign languages

about 1993 into indonesian today
About 1993 into Indonesian today!
  • Some of people have been trying to implement the social model and independent living
  • Implement “barrier-free environment “

It’s not succeeded



Western Biases

The Theory is Not based on Cultures


Neo- Colonialism

how postcolonial perspective sees people with disabilities
How postcolonial perspective sees people with disabilities ?
  • Colonial Legacies complex problems for people with disabilities
  • Colonial Policies social context of Europe
  • Many theories historical context of society
  • If They are absorbed uncritically with scant reference with local habits “Colonialism”
  • There is correlation between the subordination of people with disabilities in “the third-world” and the power of “western countries”, because many theories adopted in many polices came up with powers
what are we going to do with post colonialism in disability studies
What are we going to do with Post-colonialism in disability studies?
  • analyzing phenomena people with disabilities by correlating with colonial legacies
  • clearing space for “domination of normalcy”, and “colonial legacies” and western-countries power
  • Producing the alternative discourse instead of the dominant discourses