Social:Disability anthropology

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Short description: Subdiscipline of anthropology

Disability anthropology is the combined subdisciplines of anthropology that focus their research on disability studies within the domain of culture. Each subdiscipline of anthropology overlaps with disability studies, with its main contributions coming from the medical anthropology and cultural anthropology fields.[1][2]

The field of disability anthropology focuses on understanding sociocultural problems within disability and uses the research to develop and assess approaches to solving problems or helping to bring about change in the disabled community.[3] The topic of disability within anthropology persuades researchers to use a cultural lens and ethnological approach to identify unfamiliarity and “otherness” among cultures.[2]


The contribution of anthropology to disability studies is still relatively new.[1][4]

Some important figures in the discourse of anthropological involvement in disability include Devva Kasnitz and Russell Shuttleworth.[2]

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Reid-Cunningham, Allison Ruby (2009). "Anthropological Theories of Disability". Journal of Human Behaviour in the Social Environment 19 (1): 99–111. doi:10.1080/10911350802631644. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kasnitz, Devva; Shuttleworth, Russell P. (2001). "Anthropology in disability studies". Disability Studies Quarterly 21 (3): 2–17. 
  3. LeCompte, Margaret Diane. The Ethnographer's Toolkit. 1 - Designing & conducting ethnographic research : an introduction (Second ed.). Lanham, Maryland: AltaMira Press. ISBN 978-0759118690. 
  4. Devlieger, Clara. “Disability.” Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology, 22 Oct. 2020,