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Title: Disability, culture, and education: a study of the empowerment of the physically disabled in the People's Republic of China 
Author: Zhang, Lin
Date: 2003-05
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: This thesis gives a general picture of important historical events as well as sociocultural, religious, and economic influences that have shaped both concepts of physical disability and the attitude of the Chinese people toward the physically disabled; that either have directly contributed to the empowerment of the physically disabled or have a potential for doing so; and educational strategies and interventions, in the past and since 1949, that have been employed to empower the physically disabled in China, and challenges and problems in special education that China is likely to face in the 21st century. This thesis is multi-disciplinary in nature, drawing upon the disciplines of history, philosophy, sociology, education, and medicine. The major methodology used in this thesis is primarily document and literature research along with illustrative cases studies. Most of cases are from the personal experience of the author or the personal experiences of the family members, relatives and friends of the author drawn from real life. One can draw several conclusions from this research. The care of the elderly and disabled elderly is emphasized and is guaranteed in China; Chinese society is influenced by tradition - not judging people according to their physical appearance, but their ability; equal education is emphasized since ancient China even though women were not included; the physically disabled with normal intelligent are not identified as persons with special needs; prevention and correction of disabilities have been emphasized in modern China; the rights and interest of the physically disabled are guaranteed constitutionally since the "Open Door Policy" implanted in 1978; finally, physical disability is a social concept. People with physical defects, judged disabled in one condition, may not be considered disabled in another situation. In general, the model of disability used in guiding policy makers or researchers still reflects mainly the functional limitation model in China. The results of this thesis demonstrate the complexity of the effects of sociocultural, political and economic factors at different historical periods on the concept of physically disabled in China. It is clear enough from this study that the concept of physical disability is a social phenomena. Thus the concept of disability as a social construction should not be neglected in the establishment of programs, interventions, policies, as well as research and studies in the issues related to the rights and interests of disabled persons worldwide.
Description: x, 147 leaves
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/6929
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.

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