Changing beliefs about disability in developing countries: Historical factors and sociocultural variables.



This monograph is based on an international survey of approximately 60 individuals/organizations concerning the nature of disability and disability awareness. The survey was part of a project of the International Exchange of Experts and Information on Rehabilitation which is attempting to make information about disability issues from other countries available to U.S. audiences. The three papers in this monograph give special attention to disability issues in Africa. In "Changing Beliefs about Disability in Developing Countries: Historical Factors and Sociocultural Variables," Bruce L. Mallory identifies salient themes from the survey grouped into six .:ategories: (1) cultural values, (2) attribution theories, (3) attitudinal responses, (4) institutional effects, (5) adaptability and change in belief systems, and (6) nature of the disability. Examples from three developing countries (Zaire, Kenya, and Thailand) illustrate the themes. In the second paper, "An Examination of Some Traditional African Attitudes towards Disability," Robert W. Nicholls compares the beliefs and behaviors of disparate ethnic groups including the Igede, fgbo, and Yoruba of Nigeria, and the Ndembu of Zambia. The third paper is by James I. Charlton and is titled "Development and Disability: Voices from the Periphery Zimbabwe." Charlton addresses the contradictions that the disability rights movement in Zimbabwe confronts within the economic, cultural, and political milieu of Zimbabwe. A commentary on the papers is provided by Kofi Marfo, followed by a rejoinder written by Robert W. Nicholls. An appendix lists sample answers to survey questions. (DB)



Publication Date



The International Exchange of Experts and Information in Rehabilitation

Document Type

Book Chapter