|part of the process of oppression itself. In presenting this argument, I will begin by articulating my own theoretical position based upon Marxist political economy and hereinafter referred to as materialist theory. I will then demonstrate the inadequacies of normalization theory's explanation of the rise of the institution before going on to provide a critique of the ideology which underpins it. Next, I will take issue with the argument that normalization has been successful because it is based upon 'experience'. Finally I will look at what both normalization and materialist theories say about change, having briefly described the appalling material conditions under which disabled people live throughout the world. Before proceeding further, it is perhaps necessary to explain the use of terminology in this chapter. Underpinning it is a materialist view of society; to say that the category disability is produced by capitalist society in a particular form implies a particular world view. Within this world view, the production of the category disability is no different from the production of motor cars or hamburgers. Each has an industry, whether it be the car, fast food or human service industry. Each industry has a workforce which has a vested interest in producing their product in particular ways and in exerting as much control over the process of production as possible. Producing a materialist theory of disability The production of disability therefore is nothing more or less than a set of activities specifically geared towards producing a good - the category disability - supported by a range of political actions which create the conditions to allow these productive activities to take place and underpinned by a discourse which gives legitimacy to the whole enterprise. As to the specifics of the terminology used in this discourse, I use the term disabled people generically and refuse to divide the group in terms of medical conditions, functional limitation or severity of impairment. For me disabled people are defined in terms of three criteria; (i) they have an impairment; (ii) they experience oppression as a consequence; and (c) they identify themselves as a disabled person. Using the generic term does not mean that I do not recognise differences in experience within the group but that in exploring this we should start from the ways oppression differentially impacts on different groups of people rather than with differences in experience among individuals with different impairments. I agree that my own initial outlining of a materialist theory of disability (Oliver 1990) did not specifically include an examination of the oppression that people with learning difficulties face (and I use this particular term throughout my paper because it is the one democratic and accountable organisations of people with learning difficulties insist on). Nevertheless I agree that "For a rigorous theory of disability to emerge which begins to examine all disability in a materialist account, an analysis of normalization must be included". (Chappell 1992.38) Attempting to incorporate normalization in a materialist account however, does not mean that I believe that, beyond the descriptive, it is of much use. Based as it is upon functionalist and interactionist sociology, whose defects are well known (Gouldner1970), it offers no satisfactory explanation of why disabled people are oppressed in capitalist societies and no strategy for liberating us from the chains of that oppression. Political economy, on the other hand, suggests that all phenomena (including social categories) are produced by the economic and social forces of capitalism itself. The forms in which they are produced are ultimately dependent upon their relationship to the economy (Marx 1913) .Hence, the category disability is produced in the particular form it appears by these very economic and social forces. Further, it is produced as an economic problem because of changes in the nature of work and the needs of the labour market within capitalism. "The speed of factory work, the enforced discipline, the time-keeping and production norms -all these were a highly unfavourable change from the slower, more self-determined methods of work into which many handicapped people had been integrated" . (Ryan and Thomas 1980.101) The economy, through both the operation of the labour market and the social organisation of work, plays a key role in producing the category disability and in determining societal responses to disabled people. In order to explain this further, it is necessary to return to the crucial question of what is meant by political economy. The following is a generally agreed definition of political economy, "The study of the interrelationships between the polity, economy and society, or more specifically, the reciprocal influences among government the economy, social classes, state and, status groups. The central problem of the political economy perspective is the manner in which the economy and polity interact in a relationship of reciprocal causation affecting the distribution of social goods". (Estes et al 1982) The central problem with such an agreed definition is that it is an explanation which can be incorporated into pluralist visions of society as a consensus emerging out of the interests of various groups and social forces and indeed, this explanation has been encapsulated in a recent book on disability "A person's position in society affects the type and severity of physical disability one is likely to experience and more importantly the likelihood that he or she is likely to receive rehabilitation services. Indeed, the political economy of a community dictates what debilitating health conditions will be produced, how and under what circumstances they will be defined, and ultimately who will receive the services". (Albrecht (1992.14) This quote lays out the way in which Albrecht pursues his argument in three parts. The first part shows how the kind of society people live in influences the kinds of disability that are produced, notably how the mode of production creates particular kinds of impairments. Further, he traces the ways in which the mode of production influences social interpretation and the meanings of disability and he also demonstrates how, in industrial societies, rehabilitation, like all other goods and services is transformed into a commodity. The second part of the argument shows how intermediate social institutions in America, such as the legal, the political and welfare systems contribute to the specific way in which disability is produced and their role in the transformation of rehabilitation into a commodity. The final part considers what this may mean in terms of future developments in social policy and what effects it may have on the lives of disabled people. It is difficult to disagree with this formulation at the descriptive level but the problem with this pluralist version of political economy is that the structure of capitalist America itself goes unexamined as does the crucial role that the capitalist economy plays in. shaping the experience of groups and individuals. Exactly the same criticism can be levelled at normalization theory. Devaluation according to normalization theory is a universal cognitive process and economic and social conditions are only relevant to who gets devalued. Political economy, as it is used here, takes a particular theoretical view of society; one which sees the economy as the crucial, and ultimately determining factor, in structuring the lives of groups and individuals. Further, while the relationship between various groups and the economy may differ in qualitative ways, the underlying structural relationship remains. "The convergence and interaction of liberating forces at work in society against racism, sexism, ageism and economic imperialism are all oppressive 'isms' and built-in responses of a society that considers certain groups inferior. All are rooted in the social-economic structures of society. All deprive certain groups of status, the right to control their own lives and destinies with the end result of powerlessness. All have resulted in economic and social discrimination. All rob (American) society of the energies and involvement of creative persons who are needed to make our society just and humane. All have brought on individual alienation, despair, hostility, and anomie". (Walton 1979.9) Hence the oppression that disabled people face is rooted in the economic and social structures of capitalism. And this oppression is structured by racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and disablism which is endemic to all capitalist societies and cannot be explained away as a universal cognitive process. To explain this further it is necessary to go back to the roots of capitalism itself. Disabled people and the rise of capitalism Whatever the fate of disabled people before the advent of capitalist society and whatever their fate will be in the brave new world of the twenty first century, with its coming we suffered economic and social exclusion. As a consequence of this exclusion disability was produced in a particular form; as an individual problem requiring medical treatment. At the heart of this exclusion was the institution -something on which we would all agree. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, institutions proliferated in all industrial societies (Rothman 1971) but to describe this, as Wolfensberger does, as 'momentum without rationale' (p3) is patently absurd. The French Marxist, Louis Althusser (1971), suggested that all capitalist societies are faced with the problem of social control and they resolve this by a combination of repressive and ideological mechanisms. The reason for the success of the institution was simple; it combines these mechanisms almost perfectly. It is repressive in that all those who either cannot or will not conform to the norms and discipline of capitalist society can be removed from it. It is ideological in that it stands as a visible monument for all those who currently conform but may not continue to do so -if you do not behave, the institution awaits you. It is for this reason that the institution has been successful. Its presence perfectly meets capitalism's needs for discipline and control (Foucault 1972). It is also the reason why, despite the fact that the defects of institutions have been known for the 200 years that they have existed, they have remained unaddressed. Indeed, the principle of 'less eligibility' was central to the rise of the institution. It is simply not true to say that we have only known of their defects in recent years because, if this were the case, they would then not have been performing their ideological control function. Day trips to institutions, which originated in the 1850's not the 1950's, were precisely for this purpose; to demonstrate how awful they were for the purposes of social control, not to educate the public about their reform (p8).
The choice is revolution or NUCLEAR ARMAGEDON. Voting negative is the only way to put an end to the social antagonism that drives interstate competition and the global war on the poor.
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