Disability: Diagnostic Labeling

Abstract

Diagnostic labeling of people as ‘disabled’ can affect the individual's sense of identity and self. The values that the rest of society attaches to such labels need to be challenged. Many diagnostic labels referring to disability are applied by medical professionals, but it is their impact on the disabled person as they interact with other people in their lifeworld that are of central concern. Being labeled as a disabled person or as one who has an impairment can affect relationships both with those in one's immediate circle of acquaintances, such as those in domestic or work environments, and with those who are met in more casual relationships.

Keywords: disability; labeling theory; sociology; identity; values; relationships

References

Blumer H (1969) Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice‐Hall.

Carver V and Rodda M (1978) Disability and the Environment, Elek Books, London.

Goffman E (1968) Stigma. Harmondsworth, UK: Pelican.

Kelly M (1996) Negative attributes of the self. In: Barnes C and Mercer G (eds.) Exploring the Divide: Illness and Disability. Leeds, UK: Disability Press.

Lemert EM (1967) Human Deviance, Social Problems and Social Control. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice‐Hall.

Murphy R (1987) The Body Silent. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Scott R (1969) The Making of Blind Men. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Further Reading

Altman G, Seelman K and Bury M (2001) Handbook of Disability Studies. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Barnes C, Mercer G and Shakespeare T (2000) Exploring Disability: A Sociological Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Oliver M (1990) The Politics of Disablement. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Watson, Nick(Jul 2006) Disability: Diagnostic Labeling. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005216]