In Understanding the Experience of Disability: Perspectives from Social and Rehabilitation Psychology, Dana S. Dunn writes and selects both his own contributions and those of others that have a remarkable accessibility to them, distant from the sometimes alienating jargon of academia without sacrificing their intellectual and academic merit. This collection of essays offers a wide range of perspectives on disability that bear real pragmatic applications to the world at large with respect to the day-to-day treatment of those with disabilities. In this respect, the approach Dunn has taken in thinking through the practical applications of this volume is guided distinctly by an impulse toward social justice. Perhaps of greatest importance is the scope of the critical discourse here, ranging from the micro to the macro, encouraging both individual reexamination and structural change.

The first section of the book enumerates ways in which nondisabled people perceive disabled people, even in scenarios where one's intentionality might be in the right place. Wang and Ashburn-Nardo's "Disability Stigma: Causes, Consequences, and Strategies for Change," for example, highlights underscrutinized methods for generating empathy that might, in actuality, garner and perpetuate stereotypes rather than deconstruct and demystify. These scholars also mention discriminatory hiring decisions and ambivalent or patronizing behaviors which stem from and contribute to an overall view of the disabled individual as helpless and a burden. Addressing this issue is paramount, and the book does well to emphasize the complex, multi-dimensional lives those with disabilities lead; too often in society, when the disabled individual is acknowledged at all, their identity is reduced to that one aspect – particularly with visible physical disabilities.

In the third essay, "Judging Disability: Some Biases Identified by Social Psychology and Rehabilitation Psychology," Dunn calls attention to the particular "naïve realism" which characterizes the perspectives that nondisabled individuals carry in observations of disability. This view positions the nondisabled experience as objective and that disagreements with their conclusions suggest bias, irrationality, and ignorance (25). This concept can be similarly applied to hegemonic views of disabled people, wherein nondisabled people routinely misinterpret the disability as an internal or characteristic flaw rather than the effect of external factors.

There are many facets of rehabilitation psychology within Dunn's exploration which form a dialogue with current long-standing social attitudes on disability. A particularly salient phenomenon is that of the "requirement of mourning," an inherent bias which stipulates that the disabled individual exists in a state of suffering and must therefore be the object of pity. Taking aim at the piteous view of those with disabilities is vital, as this perception seeps into facets of disability representation in media, and ultimately skews the experience of individuals with disabilities.

The texts which Dunn cites in his writings are varied and well-established in social psychology, citing writings from Lewin (1935) to Swann & Jetten (2017). It may seem minor, but basing his analysis in well-established texts of social psychology imbue his analyses with a credibility empirically opposed to those who may dismiss social justice movements and impulses on principle. Furthermore, the texts he includes all culminate to a substantial and effective argument.

The second section delves deeper into mainstream research topics such as gender issues, race culture, and social support, further situating these well-established topics within discussions of disability and disability stigma. Chapters like Belgrave, Gary, and Johnson's "Culture, Race, and Disability" include and acknowledge non-Western and non-white disability perspectives, encouraging a more globalized consideration of disability. Indeed, it can be difficult to extricate oneself from a culture and discourse that foregrounds Western medicine and policy – which contribute in various ways to disability stigmatization themselves. Whereas science and medicine are characterized by secularity in most Western contexts, here the scholars call attention to the intersection of religion and physical and mental health – a tendency expressed in the African American community, for example. The scholars also highlight the nuanced, assorted perspectives of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, an intersectional approach seldom seen in broader socio-cultural contexts.

Further expanding the book's critical scope, the third section introduces emerging topics in the field. In this section, Bogart and Nario-Redmond provide a social identity perspective on managing and enhancing disability identity, then consider various personal and group-level strategies for coping with stigma (5). Bogart and Nario-Redmond align with other scholars in the volume in advocating for increased representation and contact with people with disabilities as a constructivist means for fostering solidarity. Chapter 16, "Family, Parenting, and Disability" by Erin E. Andrews addresses, again, the requirement of mourning in the context of family, deconstructing the biases that the nondisabled parents of disabled children carry.

The final section of the book deals with sociopolitical aspects of the experience of disability by addressing social injustice, advocacy matters, and advancing social policy for people with disabilities (6). This final section typifies the book's mission of changing people's working assumptions about justice, employing scholarship by Trost, Dirth and Nario-Redmond, and Saleh, Bruyère, and Golden to dissect the aforementioned policy. Policy often bears a unilateral effect on the wellbeing of people with disabilities, as many can attest. Once again, here, the book serves a vital social justice function. As Bruce Caplan states in the foreword, Dunn is an anachronism, as he imbues present, salient social justice issues with decades of scholarship as precedent.

Dunn leaves ample room in his analysis for the reader to make their own connections, which makes his writing and the multiple essays in the collection perfectly suited for general consumption. The book, in other words, provides both the space and the tools for situating their own lives within the discourse. While Dunn highlights the application of this discourse to unraveling the implicit biases in the nondisabled individual, his diagnostics and "recommendations" (34) could easily serve the disabled individual as well in efforts to educate and inform others. In this endeavor, outlining ways in which biased worldviews function and develop have the potential to reframe the nondisabled individual's naïve realism. This is the crucial function of this text.

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