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A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.

Open Access (free)
Coreen Anne McGuire

philosophical implications of my historical analysis. First, I argue that the naturalist position on disease and disability is undermined by consideration of how statistical normality is technologically constructed. The naturalist position maintains that the threshold level of normal functioning (the line of normalcy) is objective and value-free. However, by examining the data used to create the standards of normalcy, this book demonstrates that these thresholds – fundamental to technologies we use and trust – are often constructed through measurement instruments built with

in Measuring difference, numbering normal
A cultural and literary history of impairment in the coal industry, 1880–1948

Coalmining was a notoriously dangerous industry and many of its workers experienced injury and disease. However, the experiences of the many disabled people within Britain’s most dangerous industry have gone largely unrecognised by historians. This book examines the British coal industry through the lens of disability, using an interdisciplinary approach to examine the lives of disabled miners and their families.

The book considers the coal industry at a time when it was one of Britain’s most important industries, and follows it through a period of growth up to the First World War, through strikes, depression and wartime, and into an era of decline. During this time, the statutory provision for disabled people changed considerably, most notably with the first programme of state compensation for workplace injury. And yet disabled people remained a constant presence in the industry as many disabled miners continued their jobs or took up ‘light work’. The burgeoning coalfields literature used images of disability on a frequent basis and disabled characters were used to represent the human toll of the industry.

A diverse range of sources are used to examine the economic, social, political and cultural impact of disability in the coal industry, looking beyond formal coal company and union records to include autobiographies, novels and oral testimony. It argues that, far from being excluded entirely from British industry, disability and disabled people were central to its development. The book will appeal to students and academics interested in disability history, disability studies, social and cultural history, and representations of disability in literature.

Attitudes, interventions, legacies

The Victorian era, encompassing the latter six decades of the nineteenth century, was a period by which significant areas of the British Isles had become industrialised and urbanised. Both processes exacerbated the extent of impairing conditions, ranging from industrial injury through the prevalence of debilitating physiological illnesses. Disability and the Victorians: attitudes, interventions, legacies brings together the work of eleven scholars and focuses on the history of disability and, while showcasing the work of a diverse gathering of historians, also gives a flavour of how disability history engages the work of scholars from other disciplines and how they, in turn, enhance historical thought and understanding. Equally, while the focus is on the Victorian era, a time during which society changed significantly, both at the bottom and from the top, it was also a time in which patterns developed that were to have an enduring influence. Therefore, a taste of that enduring influence is presented in chapters that suggest the resilience of Victorian thought and practices in the modern era. Consequently, an underlying aim is to encourage readers to take a broad view, both of ‘disability’ and of Victorian influences and values.

Eamon O’Shea

7 Ageing, disability and policy Eamon O’Shea Introduction One in ten Europeans has a disability and that percentage is likely to increase along with the ageing of the population in the coming decades. For e­ xample, there will be more than twice as many people aged 80 years or older in 2050 across OECD countries than there are currently, and their share of the ­population will rise from 4% in 2010 to 10% in 2050 (OECD, 2013). Between one quarter and one half of these people will need help in their daily lives, due to reduced functional and cognitive capabilities

in The economics of disability
Insights from Irish research
Series: Irish Society

This book brings together research relating to the economics of disability in Ireland. It addresses key questions of relevance to the economic circumstances of people with disabilities, with emphasis on the relationship between disability and social inclusion, poverty, the labour market, living standards and public policy. Importantly, it also incorporates a life cycle perspective on disability, considering issues of specific relevance to children, working-age adults and older people with disabilities. There is also a focus on issues relating to resource allocation and to wider society, while the book also presents a number of contributions focusing on mental health. The book examines the economics of mental health services and presents a broad overview of key economic issues facing the provision of such services in Ireland. A number of issues are addressed, including the nature and extent of mental illnesses in Ireland, the resources spent on care provided to people with mental illnesses, as well as the economic cost of mental illness in Ireland. The book also examines the socioeconomic determinants of mental stress. It focuses on socioeconomic factors which are most closely associated with mental stress, and considers the socioeconomic determinants of subjective well-being.

Surviving change c.1970-90
Duncan Mitchell

10 Learning disability nursing: surviving change, c.1970–90 Duncan Mitchell Many learning disability nurses who came into the job, as I did, in the 1980s would have been told, like I was, that there was no future in the work. The main reason for this was that the institutions in which training took place were on closure programmes. At the time it was widely thought that when the institutions went, so would the nurses. This was not simply paranoia on the part of the nurses; there was a lot of evidence to support the view that the profession was finished, or at

in Mental health nursing
David M. Turner
Daniel Blackie

128 DISABILITY IN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION 4 DISABILITY, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY The risks of coalmining affected not just the working lives of British miners during the nineteenth century, but also their lives beyond the pit. Many contemporary commentators sought to interpret the experiences of miners and their communities through the prism of their susceptibility to danger in the workplace. For example, in his comparative statistical study of Britain’s ‘dangerous classes’, Tactics for the Times (1849), Jelinger C. Symons calculated that rates of criminality

in Disability in the Industrial Revolution
Physical impairment in British coalmining, 1780–1880

This book sheds new light on the human cost of industrialisation by examining the lives and experiences of those disabled in an industry that was vital to Britain's economic growth. If disability has been largely absent from conventional histories of industrialisation, the Industrial Revolution has assumed great significance in disability studies. The book examines the economic and welfare responses to disease, injury and impairment among coal workers. It discusses experiences of disability within the context of social relations and the industrial politics of coalfield communities. The book provides the context for those that follow by providing an overview of the conditions of work in British coalmining between 1780 and 1880. It turns its attention to the principal causes of disablement in the nineteenth-century coal industry and the medical responses to them. The book then extends the discussion of responses to disability by examining the welfare provisions for miners with long-term restrictive health conditions. It also examines how miners and their families negotiated a 'mixed economy' of welfare, comprising family and community support, the Poor Law, and voluntary self-help as well as employer paternalism. The book shifts attention away from medicine and welfare towards the ways in which disability affected social relations within coalfield communities. Finally, it explores the place of disability in industrial politics and how fluctuating industrial relations affected the experiences of disabled people in the coalfields.

Brian Nolan

3 Disability and the labour market Brian Nolan Introduction People with disabilities face many barriers to full participation in society, not least in the labour market. The extent and nature of participation in the labour market has a multitude of direct and indirect effects on living s­ tandards and quality of life, underpinning the patterns of poverty and e­ xclusion ­discussed in the previous chapter. Major differences in labour market ­outcomes are observed between those affected by disability and others across the ­ industrialised ­countries – see Acemoglu

in The economics of disability