Capitalism and the Material Realities of People with Disabilities Today

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Disability is socially constructed. You are marked as disabled by society when the category of people associated with your “abnormality” cannot access things the rest of society can readily access and take for granted. For example, people who are deaf are classified as disabled based on the fact that the majority of us can hear and thus expect the deaf to be able to process such information (e.g. video, music, other audible information in the world around us). In other words, society is structured around people who can hear, and those who this structure cannot readily accommodate are categorized as disabled. But it is important to note that disability is socially imposed on a material world. Deaf people are unable to hear, as are many animals (who live in their environments without being “disabled”). This understanding, which sees disability as being based on material factors but nonetheless ultimately socially constructed…

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