Disability and identity
The concept of "identity" has become both a contested and a fertile field of research and theory in recent years (Watson, 2002). Several assumptions have come into focus: that identity can be structured upon shared social experience; that there are fixed identities of persons with disabilities; and that the self plays a significant role in the formation of identity. However, it is important to understand the rhetoric versus practical realities in order to assess what can free persons with disabilities from fixed identities that have been enforced overtime by regulatory regimes embodied in cultural and societal prejudices. The gist of this paper is the premise that a person with disability has the capability of constructing a self-identity not constituted in impairment but rather independent of it, and of accepting impairment as a reality that he or she lives with without losing a sense of self. Disability in a socio-cultural context can be defined as "a barrier to participation of people with impairments or chronic illnesses arising from an interaction of the impairment or illness with discriminatory attitudes, cultures, policies or institutional practices" (Booth, 2000). Identity is "the condition of being a person and the process by which we become a person, that is, how we are constituted as subjects" (Kidd, 2001).