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Disability and Identity: Negotiating Self in a Changing Society

Rosalyn Benjamin Darling
Disability and Identity: Negotiating Self in a Changing Society
ISBN: 978-1-58826-864-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-818-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-896-4
2019/189 pages/LC: 2012040764
Paperback now available!
Originally published in hardcover in 2013.

Disability in Society
Also of interest:  Mobility Impairment and the Construction of Identity by Heather Ridolfo and Brian W. Ward
"Revitalizes interactionist and identity scholarship of decades past while simultaneously paving the way for crucial future advancements theoretically and practically. Works like this help to prevent us from becoming entrenched within narrow, deterministic outlooks as scholars."—Alex I. Thompson, Symbolic Interaction

"An important step forward.... This book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in identity theory or disability studies."—Christopher Johnstone, American Journal of Sociology

"A foundational work for those who wish to explore this often-misunderstood topic.... Highly recommended."—Choice

"Clear and comprehensive.... This valuable book demonstrates that disability is neither so simple, nor so negative, as most believe."—Adrienne Asch, Yeshiva University


Choice Outstanding Academic Book!

Rosalyn Darling offers a sweeping examination of disability and identity, parsing the shifting forces that have shaped individual and societal understandings of ability and impairment across time.

Darling focuses on the relationship between societal views and the self-conceptions of people with mental and physical impairments. She also illuminates the impact of the disability rights movement, life-course dynamics, and race and gender in creating a diversity of disability identities. Her seminal work reveals the remarkable resilience of individuals in the face of profound social and material barriers, at the same time that it enhances our understanding of the construction and experience of "difference" in our changing society.


Rosalyn Benjamin Darling is professor emerita of sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


  • Introduction.
  • Stigma and Acceptance over Time.
  • Societal Views and Self-Conceptions.
  • Intersecting Identities Among Women and African Americans with Disabilities.
  • The Disability Rights Movement and Identity Politics.
  • The Diversity of Disability Orientations.
  • Measuring Disability Identity and Orientation.
  • Identity over the Life Course.
  • Disability and Identity: Past, Present, Future.