Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


  • Akemi Nishida
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_78


This entry traces how psychology has defined disability as well as normalcy since the beginning of the twentieth century in the context of the United States. First, it examines roles played by psychologists in constructing, enforcing, and maintaining social norms and ideals. Secondly, this entry explores how disabled people have fought against disability’s pathologization by developing the social and post-social models as critical contestations of the medical model of deficit. Third, this entry asks how psychology can contribute to the emancipation of disabled people and communities by challenging the ableist approaches psychology often takes. While there are diverse subfields within psychology, psychologists must acknowledge and take accountability for the discipline’s collective privilege and power in shaping and limiting disabled people’s lives.

In this entry, I will primarily use terms “disabled people” and “nondisabled people” in order to challenge the power dynamics...

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Online Resources

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Critical Social PsychologyThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA