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Introducing Disability Studies

Ronald J. Berger
Introducing Disability Studies
ISBN: 978-1-58826-866-2
ISBN: 978-1-58826-891-4
ISBN: 978-1-58826-982-9
2013/271 pages/LC: 2012031434
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"A welcome, accessible introduction to the growing field of disability studies."—Michelle Jarman, Disability Studies Quarterly

"Would serve well as an introduction to graduates and undergraduates interested in this field of study by offering a much-needed perspective to balance negative socially constructed opinions regarding disability."—Jane Crawford, International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education

"In eight beautifully written chapters, Berger succinctly incorporates theory, history, [and] examples from popular culture, along with quotes and personal narratives from people with disabilities, to show how and why disability is important on a social, rather than solely an individual, level.... [This] is a must-have book for courses in disability studies or the sociology of disability, or for anyone interested in learning more about disability from a sociological perspective."—Loren Wilbers, Humanity & Society

"Well-written and thoughtfully constructed.... Berger combines theory, historical accounts, social and behavioral research, and personal narratives to produce a broad and accessible text well suited for use in disability studies and sociology of disability courses."—Richard K. Scotch, University of Texas at Dallas

"Here is a must-have text for introductory courses in disability studies. And a well researched, beautifully written book it is."—Patricia A. Murphy, University of Toledo

"A highly accessible introduction to disability studies, ideal for undergraduate classes. Students will greatly enjoy the rich quotes and personal narratives as they come to understand how and why disability really does matter on a social, not only an individual, level."—Allison C. Carey, Shippensburg University


Ronald Berger provides students with a comprehensive, accessible introduction to the key themes and controversies in disability studies. This innovative textbook:
    • provides historical context, from ancient times to the present
    • traces disability's impact throughout the life course
    • gives prominence to the voices of people with disabilities
    • explores popular culture's role in distorting ideas about disability
    • addresses emerging ethical issues, such as the implications of genetic selection

Illustrating the profound consequences of differing conceptions of physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments, Berger provides a solid foundation for making sense of disability as a social phenomenon.


Ronald J. Berger is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He is author of Wheelchair Warrior: Gangs, Disability, and Basketball and Hoop Dreams on Wheels: Disability and the Competitive Wheelchair Athlete.


  • Disability in Society.
  • Explaining Disability.
  • History and the Law.
  • The Family and Childhood.
  • Adolescence and Adulthood.
  • The Bodily Experience of Disability.
  • Representing Disability in Literature and Film.
  • The Future of Disability.