A postmodern analysis of disabilities

John W Murphy, Fernando M. Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this paper, the basic theoretical tenets of postmodernism are outlined. As part of this process, the implications for social interventions are also discussed, including the political side of this philosophy. In general, postmodernism breaks with the reductionism that is inherent to the biomedical model and offers the opportunity to develop more holistic modes of diagnosis and intervention. As a result of this shift, disabilities can no longer be viewed in an essentialist manner, but instead must be approached as social constructions. Therefore, rather than destroying culture, postmodernism supports an awareness of the so-called ‘culture of disability’ that allows persons to be understood in their own terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social Work in Disability and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002


  • Anti-essentialism
  • Embedded
  • Humanism
  • Nature of disabilities
  • Postmodernism
  • Social construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Sociology and Political Science


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