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CeDR Research Seminar: Dr Jo Ferrie 'The Psycho-Emotional Impact of Impairment Effects: Where Chronic Illness Meets Disability Studies'

Date: 23 November 2011 Time: 17.00-18.00 pm

Venue: FASS Building Meeting Room 1

Date:23 November 2011Time:17.00-18.00 pm

Venue:FASS Building Meeting Room 1

Presenter: Dr Jo Ferrie, Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research, University of Glasgow

Title:The Psycho-Emotional Impact of Impairment Effects: Where Chronic Illness Meets Disability Studies

Abstract:Where impairment ends and chronic illness begins has been a major issue for disability studies and disability theorists. Explorations of chronic illness have been mostly confined to medical sociology whilst for disability studies impairment has been the major identifier. Medical sociology has been criticised within disability studies for its failure to engage with and explore how social structures impact on the experience of chronic illness whilst disability studies has been criticised for its neglect of an analysis of living with a chronic condition. In an attempt to rectify this Carol Thomas has suggested the use of impairment effects and psycho-emotional disablism. The former are the restrictions or limitations imposed upon a body relating to an impairment which are distinct from the social relational barriers whilst the latter refers to the social processes and practices which place limits on the psycho-emotional well-being of people with impairments. Impairment effects and disabilities are inter-related so that the whole person can not be subjected to a dualist approach where each symptom and barrier faced can be situated in one category over the other. In this paper we employ data drawn from interviews with adults who have motor neurone disease (MND) and focus groups of family members who have supported someone with motor neurone disease (MND) to explore how living with a terminal, chronic condition can be explored from a disability studies perspective. The data suggest people facing chronic and life-limiting illnesses may be less aware of disabling barriers as they are faced simultaneously with impairment effects that grow in number and severity. The psycho-emotional consequences of living with a condition that will end one's life, on average within 18 months, and with particular symptoms will be discussed. Particular attention will be given to the loss of verbal communication ability, fear of asphyxiation, a lack of medical awareness among front line medical professionals and the need to accept an identity of disability in order to access particular resources and benefits.

About Jo:Jo Ferrie is based in the Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research. She has worked as a Research Fellow there for 10 years, completing her PhD in 2008 examining the DDA's impact on education. Jo's writing has examined how a sociological approach to Human Rights could further contribute to the emancipation of disabled people, particularly those who experience care. Jo is currently a Convenor of the Glasgow Human Rights Network and a member of the Institute of Health and Well-Being within the University of Glasgow. She has acted as Academic Consulted for the Scottish Parliament's Equalities Framework Review. Jo's current project is one of the first projects to explore the barriers faced by adults with Motor Neurone Disease.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Applied Social Science, Centre for Disability Research CeDR, Division of Health Research


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
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