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Accepted Paper:

How religious aspects influence the Jewish disability's conceptualization  
Carolina Valdebenito (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

Paper long abstract:

This paper is based on the preliminary results obtained through a doctoral research which purpose is to investigate the Jewish parents' conceptualization of their own children with "special needs". The fieldwork site selected is Antwerp, where there exists a special institution for disabled Jewish people who are enrolled from different places around the world. The theoretical assumptions and hypotheses are based within the theoretical constructivist framework, which indicates that the words and concepts allow us to explain and to interpret reality. Concepts make it possible to organize the complexity of reality and make it more intelligible. Likewise, disability will be studied as a conceptualization or categorization. Researchers specialized in disability studies, have described the evolution of concepts such as handicap, disability, impairment and challenges. However, regardless of the concept used, there is always some social impact within a particular social group. Some of these social responses are: discrimination, racism, indifference, etc. Whatever the reaction, it always reflects something deeper, something which arises from the culture's traditions. One of the arguments in this manuscript is that the culture is very important in determining the social responses to different phenomena and it is assumed that religion is the most important cultural aspect present in different social groups and the basis of the dominant social construction(s). Thus, an argument in this paper is that despite the Jewish people not being homogenous in religious observation, nonetheless, they categorize disability in the light of religion which remains central to their culture.

Panel W101
Politics of disability and experience
  Session 1