The Ecological-Enactive Model of Disability: Why Disability Does Not Entail Pathological Embodiment

Juan Toro*, Julian Kiverstein, Erik Rietveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

In the last 50 years, discussions of how to understand disability have been dominated by the medical and social models. Paradoxically, both models overlook the disabled person’s experience of the lived body, thus reducing the body of the disabled person to a physiological body. In this article we introduce what we call the Ecological-Enactive (EE) model of disability. The EE-model combines ideas from enactive cognitive science and ecological psychology with the aim of doing justice simultaneously to the lived experience of being disabled, and the physiological dimensions of disability. More specifically, we put the EE model to work to disentangle the concepts of disability and pathology. We locate the difference between pathological and normal forms of embodiment in the person’s capacity to adapt to changes in the environment. To ensure that our discussion remains in contact with lived experience, we draw upon phenomenological interviews we have carried out with people with Cerebral Palsy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1162
JournalFrontiers in psychology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • affordances
  • disability
  • ecological psychology
  • enactive cognitive science
  • lived body
  • medical model
  • normality
  • pathology

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