A Historical Sociology of Disability: Human Validity and Invalidity from Antiquity to Early Modernity

Bill Hughes

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Covering the period from Antiquity to Early Modernity, A Historical Sociology of Disability argues that disabled people have been treated in Western society as good to mistreat and – with the rise of Christianity – good to be good to. It examines the place and role of disabled people in the moral economy of the successive cultures that have constituted ‘Western civilisation’.
This book is the story of disability as it is imagined and re-imagined through the cultural lens of ableism. It is a story of invalidation; of the material habituations of culture and moral sentiment that paint pictures of disability as ‘what not to be’. The author examines the forces of moral regulation that fall violently in behind the dehumanising, ontological fait accompli of disability invalidation, and explores the ways in which the normate community conceived of, narrated and acted in relation to disability.
A Historical Sociology of Disability will be of interest to all scholars, students and activists working in the field of Disability Studies, as well as sociology, education, philosophy, theology and history. It will appeal to anyone who is interested in the past, present and future of the ‘last civil rights movement’.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages364
ISBN (Electronic)9780429056673
ISBN (Print)9780367174200, 9780367174187
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Advances in Disability Studies


  • disability
  • historical sociology
  • western civilisation
  • ableism


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