Is there something wrong with society, or is it just me? : Social and medical knowledge in a Norwegian anti-discrimination law


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Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research;12 (3)



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What is the current relationship between the social and medical definitions of disability in Norway? The Norwegian Discrimination and Accessibility Act, which entered into effect on 1 January 2009, frames its overarching goals in terms of human rights and equal opportunity and studiously avoids the use of medicodiagnostic language. Most of the specific provisions of the law are, however, justified as means of compensation for inherent or pre-existing disadvantage due to impairment. In order to be effective, they must engage with medical, impairment-specific knowledge. Social and medical perspectives and explanatory models that are often seen as conflicting or even mutually exclusive instead become intertwined in the spaces of negotiation that are opened by the law. Thus, elements of what has traditionally been termed the medical model become integrated in a larger framework that is defined by the goals of the social model.



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