Chapter 3: Counting Disability
Glenn T. Fujiura & Violet Rutkowski-Kmitta
Counting disability We are driven to classify and count the human condition. From the Hippocratic division of the Four Humors through contemporary efforts to catalog variations in genome sequences, people (or, more precisely, the society of men and women) have sought to systematize the measurement and subdivision of their own. Such has been the case with disablement. As we will see in the following sections, disability statistics encompass an enormous range of concepts, method of definition, systems of surveillance, and, indeed, humanity. Those people identified under different approaches are best viewed as overlapping populations, with considerable but not total communality. A central theme of this chapter is that discrepancies among approaches underscore the fluidity of the disability concept and the vagaries of classifying human variability into simple dichotomies. The act of classification and counting is far from a simple matter, often subject to methodological bias and the distortion of the ...