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Mobility Impairment and the Construction of Identity

Heather Ridolfo and Brian W. Ward
Mobility Impairment and the Construction of Identity
ISBN: 978-1-935049-57-9
ISBN: 978-1-935049-96-8
2013/188 pages/LC: 2012041504
Disability in Society
A FirstForumPress Book
Also of interest:  Disability and Identity: Negotiating Self in a Changing Society by Rosalyn Benjamin Darling
"The authors create a nuanced vision of the experiences faced by impaired individuals—offering a better understanding of the disabled identity, who chooses to identify with it, and why."—Contemporary Sociology

"Provides new insights on disability and the construction of identity.... It is a must-have book for academics conducting further research in this field."—Sabrina Blaas, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education

"Excellent.... Sheds light for experts in the field, as well as those unfamiliar with the reasoning surrounding disability and identities."—Leda Nath, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater


Heather Ridolfo and Brian Ward explore the experiences of people with impaired mobility, enhancing our understanding of why some embrace a disabled identity, why others reject it, and the personal and societal implications of both choices.

Drawing on a combination of intimate interviews and statistical data, the authors unpack the ways that physical and social barriers shape personal ideas of disability. They also highlight the impact of interlocking factors such as age, race, gender, and economic class. Their work provides important new insights, relevant to theory as well as policy and practice.


Heather Ridolfo is a survey statistician with the National Agricultural Statistics Service in the US Department of Agriculture. Brian W. Ward is a research affiliate of the Center for Social Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 


  • Embracing Disability?
  • Building on Models of Disability.
  • Everyday Experiences of the Body and the Environment.
  • The Dynamics of Disability Identity.
  • Taking Account of Gender.
  • Implications for Theory and Practice.