Aliusmodi Fasho: A Phenomenological Look at Current Ideographical and Ideological Inadequacies in Describing the Difference between Medical and Social Models of Disability
California Baptist University
This paper is being submitted to Prof. Carol Minton, Ph.D. in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Sociology of Disability, DIS 540A on December 14, 2012
Aliusmodi Fasho: Current Ideographical and Ideological Inadequacies in Describing the Difference between Medication and Socialization
Terminology surrounding concepts of disability has long been point of public contention (Barton, 2009; Brown, 2002; & Gronvik, 2007), however persons described as having a disability are doing the rest no favors in being easily labeled. Such a quandary is understandable considering prevailing macro culture assent and limited education available on the topic. Furthermore, because our classic concepts of disability hold meaning in the subject rather than the object, agreement is required in order to share and advance theoretical perspectives.
For purposes of this paper we must establish some definitions in order to advance the position. First, we will use the term “aliusmodi fasho” to describe the phenomenon of what is commonly known as being disabled or having a disability or impairment. However, “aliusmodi fasho” is meant to describe the actuality that is the experience of the individual regarding such phenomenon. Aliusmodi fasho is a neutral term meant to imply nothing more than the experience. There should be no attribution of value or significance otherwise to such term. Second, the term “disability” will be used to implicate distinctively and only issues pertaining to society, the individual interaction thereof, and the social implications of such regarding what is here described as Aliusmodi Fasho. The term “disability” will refer to what is currently considered a social model of such. Third, the term “impairment” will be used to address only the particulars of an individual’s relations and interaction with concepts of medical treatment and rehabilitation, or a medical model. Finally, the objective physiological idiosyncrasies of individual persons, while being relevant to issues of aliusmodi fasho, disability, and impairment, will be addressed here as naturally occurring “qualities” in the unique makeup of each human being. The term “quality” is meant to be a synonym for characteristic, and does not imply good, or bad for that matter, when referenced.
The purpose of this work is not to set a standard from which to define certain personal traits, currently and incorrectly, passed as disability and impairment as is often the aim of other scholars (Barton, 2009); instead, it is provided that a sharp distinction be made between the concept of disability and that of impairment as previously discussed. The reason such a distinction is important is ultimately dependent upon context but generally is the basis from which to obtain actualities about, and encompassing the naturally occurring qualities in question and aliusmodi fasho.
Brown (2002) accurately stated, “The disabled community is the most diverse there is” (p. 92). In order to engage thought and accurate learning, we should welcome expanding definitions as opposed to perpetuating stereotypes by minimizing conceptual definitions. Finally, the intrinsic attachment of impairment, a medical construct, to disability, a social construct, is inaccurate and unethical in most contexts; to which, persons in a position of power should at least be made aware of.
Qualities, Traits, and idiosyncrasies of the individual:
When using the term “quality,” we do not mean to assign value; rather, we only wish to describe variance along the dynamic that is human life. The concept of “quality” as described here, stands in sharp contrast to the ideograph that is the term disability. Disability, by our definition, implies value to an actuality that is dependent upon context and many environmental factors for accurate value attribution. When you remove context and look at individual physiological makeup, you realize that the incorrectly applied terms of impairment and disability often complicate what is, at the base, variation in the natural occurrence of the human being. Variances in the physical mind and physical body, whether inherited, innate, or acquired, are naturally occurring instances. By definition something that occurs without an amount of chemical, physical, or spiritual/psychological manipulation is considered natural. Even acquired qualities such as traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or cancer occur naturally. Such qualities are randomly expected to occur in people. After all, we do not get into a car accident and grow literal wings; until a documented case of this naturally occurs, such an instance will continue to be considered unnatural. It is very important to restrict the attribution of value to human variance. Such attributions should be left only to the individuals united with any given variance in question.
Qualities of the individual are more permanent and are subject to the natural evolution of bodily processes. Whereas an immediately broken and dislocated finger is an injury, and classic example of impairment; whether treated or untreated, the injury changes the actual permanent physiological makeup of the finger. This change may be made more, or less, intense as the person attached is treated (medically) and/or ages. Such an injury may or may not constitute a disability depending on the social factors implicated. The permanence and untreatable nature of the physical variance, whether acquired or innate, is what makes it, (physical variance) natural. However, because something is natural, does not implicate the subject to be automatically accepting of such qualities. Two dynamics begin to interact on any of our individual makeups: they are; 1) the ability to change such qualities through such things as surgery, diet, exercise, etc., and 2) the desire to change such qualities. Permanence and/or the untreatable nature of some qualities put the subject in a quandary, only when the quality is perceived to be undesirable. This undesirableness, assumed to a given quality, emphasizes the importance of allowing persons attached to such qualities to be the only ones allowed to attribute credible value to such qualities. Value attribution to personal qualities by persons who do not share the same, or very similar qualities, only convolute and confuse a subject; a subject that may already be wrestling with many issues within the self. For this reason it is very important that distinctions between disability, impairment, and individual qualities be made.
Such uncontrollable qualities can be a great source of pride and/or anguish; much like height, race, natural hair color, eye color, etc. because such traits may be used as the physiological identifiers of cultural membership, such identifications not only have implications for how we perceive ourselves, but also how we perceive our world. Without making an argument here why I feel persons who share a certain set of qualities, and are linked together through social labels and definitions such as disability, constitute a culture, we will simply note the significance. Klopf and McCroskey (2007) posed, “Essential to know is that culture provides a blueprint that determines the way we think, feel, and behave in our society, a blueprint that is unlikely to be shared by other cultures” (p. 21).
Our general concept of the actuality of Aliusmodi Fasho manifests itself in what is commonly considered disability. Disability is dependent upon social factors that are very real, and potentially, the main actor in our approach to the subject. There is a propensity to automatically consider the social aspects of disability as negative. However, to do so would be inaccurate. Whereas we cannot change individual qualities, and where impairment is changeable dependent on medical and scientific innovation, disability as a social construct, can be influenced, molded, and changed. Furthermore, the importance of disability as a concept is highlighted because much like individual qualities, society can be a source of either anguish, pride, or both. Because society arguably has the most potential for immediate and dramatic change, and because that change can have a positive and/or negative impact on all parties involved, disability should be a main focal point of social scholars and professionals alike. There is no problem with using the term “disability” as long as it is understood that disability refers to the social phenomena that contributes meaning to Aliusmodi Fasho.
Regarding disability, value is attributed and/or negotiated by all parties involved. This, unlike qualities of the self and issues of impairment, is where everyone can communicate their positions and value is bargained. Disability is where we discuss with our neighbor concerns and appreciations, definitions and understandings, acceptance and favorability, etc. Furthermore, the decisions negotiated here as to the value of, and approaches to, disability surpass the simple confines of one’s lifetime. Disability as a concept is passed socially from generation to generation. How we leave this situation is how our children will inherit it.
Some social scientists want to provide that disability as a social model is inaccurate, outdated, or otherwise not useful. Tom Shakespeare (2002) has stated, “the time has come to move beyond this model” (p. 9). While it may be true that the actuality over cultural and individual experience is much more than the concept of disability encapsulates, because social constructs are such a pertinent aspect of our experience, a social model of disability will continue to be useful for generations to come.
Social experiences can be both positive and/or negative, a source of pride and/or anguish as I stated before. The potential for influence on the overall perception of Aliusmodi Fasho is greatest in this area. Pop culture, mass media, and macro cultural policies can transform the experience of Aliusmodi Fasho dramatically. Such influences, and the potential manipulation thereof, should be a focus of future research.
Disability as a concept is related to medicalization so strongly that widespread terminology to the subject does not distinguish it accurately from impairment. Scholars seek to point out the impairments of society when discussing disability as a social model. This is important, but neither disability nor impairment is an end all to the experience of Aliusmodi Fasho. The qualities in question are ultimately held in the self. Autonomy in making final judgments as to the value and self-worth of such qualities must ultimately be held in the individual, however because disability and impairment are so influential in said person’s lives, such concepts can make accurate self-construal very difficult. The voice of disability can be the ultimate source of pride, or the most damaging source of negative self-perceptions. When disability becomes polluted with an overemphasis on impairment we play a dangerous game of magnifying deficiency in the subject. Impairment, while being a very relevant aspect of the experience of Aliusmodi Fasho, is a nonnegotiable and difficult aspect of Aliusmodi Fasho.
While impairment will understandably be an actor on the value attribution of unique qualities to the self, related to being Aliusmodi Fasho, it is not necessary for impairment to be related to disability. It has long been hailed that a patient’s relationship with his or her doctor is a private matter that is not the business of persons close to the situation, let alone for the whole of society to attribute personal and public worth.
Impairment must be understood as the issue(s) that needs immediate medical attention. Such instances are by definition undesirable; mainly due to impending pain or the threat of imminent death. Impairment is unacceptable, not because of any social ills or concepts of the self, but because the individual does not/cannot accept its state. Examples include broken bones, depression, Burns, trauma, internal bleeding etc. impairment can be directly related to, and/or the same as, disability, Aliusmodi Fasho, and/or individual qualities. For example, HIV-AIDS, Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy, and other individual qualities may require immediate and constant medical intervention, however, even in these instances, medical impairment remains separate from one’s actual self and attached value attributions. Even as impairment becomes a part of one’s qualities, it remains categorized separately, and under it, as one of many subsets to what ultimately is the quality in question; Aliusmodi Fasho. Furthermore, what distinguishes impairment from one’s actual qualities, related or unrelated to such, is that there is more potential to change impairment. In order to approach a quality from a medical perspective, it must have the potential to be changed. When impairment is untreatable and/or permanent it becomes an issue of the natural qualities of human beings. Even when the quality and question leads to death, once it is determined unavoidable, it becomes natural; as death is, and is ultimately rationalized, within the subject, and meeting the requirements for Aliusmodi Fasho.
Finally, because impairment is both objective and subjective its worth or value is attributed/negotiated between the doctor and the patient. While some impairment is immediately undesirable, others are figured to be undesirable based on information provided by a doctor. Persons must be comfortable discussing openly with their doctors their concerns and qualities, without such been complicated or implicated socially. This further emphasizes the importance of a separation between concepts of disability and impairment.
While macro cultural discourse does not currently allow an adequate amount of definitions to discuss the subject completely, it is important to note we are not scientists of popular culture. A model is provided (see Table A: Aliusmodi Fasho) as to how a more accurate picture of the phenomena referred to as Aliusmodi Fasho can be described. This allows us to better understand the difference between disability and impairment while also being able to discuss similarities. However macro culture does more than is appropriate to attach the two. Erving Goffman (1959) in his sociological genius stated, “when an individual enters the presence of others, they commonly seek to acquire information about him or bring into play information about him already possess” (p. 1). For persons with disabilities, (that is, attached socially to being Aliusmodi Fasho), this search for information has unethically pervaded the private walls of the physician’s office. This has potentially been done out of confusion or out of the disregard for the common courtesies of those experiencing Aliusmodi Fasho. Nonetheless it is highly unethical. Furthermore, the proposed approach allows for a base point from which to make assessments for further study into potential implications for cultural establishment of those experiencing Aliusmodi Fasho. If cultural markers are present, experiencing Aliusmodi Fasho can be better understood. We may also be able to better understand the cultural dynamics of such. However, if we continue to use impairment against those experiencing Aliusmodi Fasho, such persons will become even more distrusting of concepts of disability. This can expand the distance in understanding between all parties and ultimately delay full integration, equality, and fairness. Impairment is partitioned from disability by the self and the qualities held solely within such.
Table A: Aliusmodi Fasho
· Social markers/implications for variance in human makeup.
· Dependent upon social factors.
· Can be influenced, molded, and changed.
· Transcends generations. Undying
· Undesirable/desirable actions to and from others.
· Can be a source of pride and/or anguish.
· Value is attributed/negotiated through communication.
|Individual Qualities, Traits, and Idiosyncrasies
· Actual physiological variance.
· Mainly permanent, but may change (like grey hair, balding, or body shape). Not temporary.
· Dependent upon uncontrollable factors of human makeup/condition.
· May be acquired, innate, and/or inherited.
· Very little ability OR desire to change.
· Subject to death.
· Can be a source of pride/less anguish.
· Value attributed by subject.
· Subjective & Objective.
· Issue of medical doctors and patients.
· Undesirable condition.
· May cause immediate pain, anguish, and/or death.
· Strong ability to influence/potential to influence.
· Source of anguish/less pride.
· Temporary by healing, death, or permanence.
· Threatened/subject to death.
· Value agreed upon/negotiated by patients and doctors.
Barton, B. (2009). Dreams deferred: Disability definitions, data, models, and perspectives. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 36(4), 13-24.
Brown, S. (2002). What is disability culture. Disability Studies Quarterly, 22(2), 34-50. Retrieved from http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/343/434
Goffman, E. (1959). Presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company Inc. Retrieved from http://clockwatching.net/~jimmy/eng101/articles/goffman_intro.pdf
Gronvik, L. (2007). The fuzzy buzz word: Conceptualisations of disability in disability research classics. Sociology of Health & Illness, 29(5), 750-766. doi:10.111/j.1467-9566.2007.01014.x
Klopf, D. W., & McCroskey, J. C. (2007). Intercultural communication encounters. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.
Shakespeare, T. (2002). The social model of disability: An outdated ideology. Research in Social Science and Disability, 2, 9-28.