Dsa 2012-14 Victim of Disability

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Victim of Disability A Case Study

Theoretical Discourse
The Ecosystems theory can be used to understand this case study. The Ecosystems theory 
originated from the general systems theory. The ecosystems perspective focuses on the 
interplay between the person and his/her environment. In order to understand the functioning 
on an individual it is essential to understand his/her environmental context. According to 
Bronferbrenner, in order to understand human development one must consider the entire 
ecological system, which is composed of five socially organized subsystems. The 
Microsystem is the most 
basic system referring to the individual’s immediate environment 
(parents, siblings, peers etc.). The Mesosystem is the relationship between the various 
contexts and settings the individual is within. The Exosystem consists of the external factors 

that in
fluence the individual’s development such as parents’ employment, mass media or 
policy makers. The Macrosystem 
consists of one’s cultural beliefs, customs and laws which 
affect the individual as well as his/her family functioning. Lastly, the Chronosystem, 
Bronferbrenner believed that an individual’s time and generation affect his/her development. 
In context of the case study we see how the interaction between the various systems affects 
the child and puts him in the position of a ‘victim.’ The individuals such as the grandparents, 
mother and sister present in the child’s immediate environment were detached from the child, 
thus the child faced neglect. The child and his family were also disconnected from their 
surrounding environment and the community as there was conflict; external factors such as 
his mother’s socio-economic position also affected his circumstances. Due to the lack of 
social support received by the mother and her own existing circumstances (separation from 
husband; violence inflicted by parents), the mother could not provide the required care to the 
child. The macrosystem in this context plays an essential role, since the cultural and 
attitudinal perception of disability also affected the manner in which the child was treated.
In a larger context, the Macrosystem- the cultural beliefs and perceptions of persons with 
disabilities- contribute to their victimization, exclusion and marginalization in society.
Another perspective that co
uld be used to view this case could be that of Erving Goffman’s 
theory of Stigma. Goffman viewed stigma as a process based on the social construction of 
identity and individuals who got associated with a stigmatized condition passed from being 
‘normal’ to ‘discredited’ or ‘discreditable.’ Stigmas often lead to negative attitudes giving 
rise to prejudices and discrimination. Goffman looks into both the social and psychological 
elements in the process of stigmatization and the psychological impact it has. Stigmatization 
can be overt. It can manifest as aversion to interaction, avoidance, social rejection, 
discounting, discrediting, dehumanization, and depersonalization of others into stereotypic 
caricatures (Dovidio et al., 2000; Herek, 1999). Goffman identified three kinds of Stigma- 
stigma of character traits (mental disorders, homosexuality, unemployment); physical stigma 
(physical deformities of the body) and stigma of group identity (race, religion, caste). 
Goffman, as an example states that meeting the care needs of a child with a disability has a 
significant impact upon family members pre-existing work and social life patterns, but in 
addition families may also experience what is termed `courtesy stigma' (or 'stigma by 
association') because of their direct relationship to the child. The family will then may have 
to cope with their own feelings of shame or guilt, and may attempt to distance themselves in 

various ways from the disability. This in the context of the above stated case study becomes 
very relevant.

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