Disability Studies Quarterly
Winter 2002, Volume 22, No. 1
pages 4-5 <www.dsq-sds.org>
Copyright 2002 by the Society
for Disability Studies

Editor's Preface

David Pfeiffer

This issue contains nine articles which are not part of a symposium. They make for interesting and varied reading.

In Disability and David Lynch's `Disabled' Body of Work Tom O'Connor shows how Lynch forcefully puts forth the position, advocated by many people with disabilities, that "normal" is a value laden construct which impairs people labelled disabled. O'Connor also says that Lynch demonstrates, in his films, that social acceptance is often false and that the socially imposed stigma of disability can not be avoided. It is a very interesting article.

In her article Organizational Culture and People with Disabilities Mary G. Maciel Klinger argues that successful change in an organizational culture which keeps out potential employees with disabilities can be achieved through an internship experience. Familiarity and evidence that a person with a disability can do the job will begin to produce change which encourages a more accepting environment for people with disabilities.

Carol Marfisi presents an intensely personal discussion of the system of personal assistance services and independent living. She notes the ways in which it has been corrupted into functioning in ways not originally intended. She concludes her article, Personally Speaking: A Critical Reflection of Factors Which Blur the Original Vision of Personal Assistance Services, with a plea to "seize the vision, seize the struggle, and seize the joy of living."

Iwona Kasior-Szerszen, in her article New Policies Related to Vocational Rehabilitation of Disabled People in Poland, traces the changes in the vocational rehabilitation system and the resulting employment of people with disabilities in Poland since the economic and social changes of a decade ago. Her language also demonstrates the difficulties of discussing current public policy based on a deficit model while not entirely in agreement with that model and while the policy is itself changing from a deficit model.

In Exceeding Expectations: A Historical Analysis of Student Power and Self-Determination David Brewer examines theories of student power and self-determination as they evolved over the last 100 years and how they are related to general and special education practices. He shows that schools promote the current social, political, and economic order of their community by educating students and requiring teachers to conform to their particular role. Attempts to reform education to improve the lives of all students, regardless of background, has not resulted in truly positive outcomes for students with disadvantages including students with disabilities. Students, teachers, administrators, and policy makers must use the principles of self-determination to change that result, he writes.

In Potential Maximization: Toward a Micro-Sociological Approach in Disability Studies Paul Gordon Jacobs uses the theories of sociologist Anthony Giddens and psychologist Abraham Maslow as well as the ideas of political activists including Tom Shakespeare, Michael Oliver, Colin Barnes and Lerita Coleman to present a new approach to disability studies and disability rights. We must study how people with stigma (such as persons with disabilities) overcome their stigma and became self-actualized. And we must disseminate this knowledge.

The article part of this issue concludes with From the Field. The first two are intensely personal. In her essay "What's a Leg Got to Do with It?" Donna R. Walton writes about her experience of being an amputee especially in terms of sexuality. Harriet McBryde Johnson, in her essay "Worth Living," starts by writing "Permit me to introduce myself. I am your worst nightmare." She continues explaining that although she is disabled and most people think that she must have a very low quality of life, the opposite is true. But read her essay to know the real impact of her words.

The final article in this issue is a brief history of the origins of SSDI, a program of utmost interest to people who are severely disabled. It is written by the editor. Following this article is the book review section ably edited, as always, by Elaine Makas.

And then there is this bit of confession. On the Web this quarterly has had the wrong title. It has, for some time, been titled Disabilities Studies Quarterly instead of the correct title of Disability Studies Quarterly. How embarrassing! But it must be accepted as proof that gremlins live in cyberspace.

Copyright (c) 2002 David Pfeiffer

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ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)