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Disability, Oppression And Violence: Towards A Sociological Explanation

A. Hollomotz
Published 2013 · Sociology

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Disabled people are exposed to a higher incidence of violence compared to the population average. Consequently, they are often described as ‘vulnerable’. This article argues that this concept focuses explanations for violence on the person at risk. It therefore redirects attention towards the social forces that make violence more likely to occur. With reference to case studies, a micro-analysis outlines how subtle forms of oppression, including imbalanced personal relationships, social exclusion, restricted autonomy and a higher tolerance for maltreatment within segregated settings, affect the daily experiences of disabled people. This is followed by a macro-analysis, which exposes further structural inequalities and a societal ratification of hostility towards disabled people. These processes are described as forming a continuum, which highlights that boundaries between mundane experiences and contact violence are at times blurred and shifting.
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