Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The medical approach and the social approach to disability: A descriptive analysis

Mauri, Christian JohnORCID: 0000-0003-3245-1044 (2011) The medical approach and the social approach to disability: A descriptive analysis. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Front Pages
Download (33kB)
PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (234kB)


The thesis offers a descriptive analysis of how the “medical approach” to disability and the “social approach” to disability understand and analyse disability as an area of inquiry. The medical approach treats disability as a pathological, deviant state caused by biological and physiological dysfunctions. This approach is discussed in regard to medical sociology, which treats disability primarily as a form of social deviance, and the individual model, which uses medical language to categorise disability based on functional limitations. The social approach treats disability as a social issue, with social forces influencing experiences of disability. This approached is used within disability studies, which argues that disabled individuals represent an oppressed social group, and the social model, which distinguishes between “impairment” and “disability” in order to treat disability as a social entity characterised by a range of social and material conditions.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Supervisor(s): Wickham, Gary
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year