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Missing discourses: concepts of joy and happiness in disability

Sunderland, N., Catalano, T., Kendall, E.,

Academic Literature


This paper analyses a series of representations of disability and rehabilitation taken from research and policy settings in Australia. Through this analysis we show that while official professional and public discourses on disability and rehabilitation exhibit predominantly negative discursive patterns and features (i.e. aspirations to achieve ‘normality’ and a negative lexicon, such as disability, coping, rehabilitation, burden, abnormality, etc.) there are many other potentially positive and empowering discursive and narrative patterns and features that remain hidden beneath negatively oriented ways of seeing, being, acting and describing in academic, policy and practice settings. We argue that policy‐makers and academics alike need to be sensitive to the dynamics of discourse when constructing research and developing policy.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Disability & Society

Location : Australasia

Domain/s: Education, Sector development and sustainability, Social relationships

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