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Social interaction between the members of a society with or without a motor disability: sociological phenomenological perspective


The article applies Alfred Schutz's sociological phenomenological perspective to explore how people in wheelchairs experience and interpretsocial interactions with non disabled people.Their personal narratives are based on the qualitative in-depth interviews. Sociological phenomenological analysis of these narratives disclose the a lack of intersubjective (mutual motivational) understanding which exists in social interactions of people with motor disability and other members of society. It arises from differently formed typifications and interpretational schemes, which are followed by members of these groups. The mentioned lack of understanding evidences by unrequested charity of passers-by for people sitting in a wheelchair, open display of compassion or its expression, bored staring at them and similar actions, which are undesirable by disabled. This shows that society is still not familiar with the social reality, lived by disabled persons. Due to this unfamiliarity during social interactions the disabled members of society are imposed with unequal relationships: they are stigmatized and classified as having a lower social status. Social and health care professionals also show their social power in relationship with disabled ones. In the primary health care institutions they are generally classified as "second-class" patients, who lack proper attention from professionals. These experiences, reflected by disabled people, show the existing trend of medical professionals to follow the biomedical and functionalist view towards a disabled person as towards an incurable patient and useless member of society. Although employees, providing social services for people with disability, or supervising professionals should be well aware of living specificity of people with motor disability, should be able to provide a competent support, however, in many cases the disabled ones argue that these professionals do not have the aforementioned characteristics, and the nature of social interaction with them is unacceptable.


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