Disability, Self, and Society
Contains Bibliography, Index
M. Wayne Cunningham is a past executive director of the Saskatchewan
Arts Board and the former director of Academic and Career Programs at
East Kootenay Community College.
Titchkosky’s first-hand knowledge of the disabilities of a “self”
in society comes from her own severe dyslexia and the total blindness of
her partner, Rod Michalko, similarly a professional sociologist,
university professor, and author in small-town Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
In this study, Titchkosky sets out to broaden the reader’s
understanding of the social significance of blindness as a disability
and how it is coped with (or not) by both the afflicted individual and
the immediate communities and larger society within which the disabled
live and work. Thus, within the larger contexts of disability mapping,
social topographies of normalcy, and accessibility factors, for
instance, she provides specific examples of citizens staring at her
partner and his Seeing Eye dog, ironic discussions about the handicapped
committee at the university where they both work, their difficulties in
accessing appropriate hotel accommodations, repeated “hellos” from a
shuttle bus driver (shouted as much for awareness factors as for
congeniality), and their shared black humour over a colleague who after
nearly running over her partner and his dog merrily waved to them.
Titchkosky’s readable and meticulously researched study deserves wide
circulation and an extensive readership. Her personalized approach
enhances the book’s appeal to a general audience without detracting
from its appeal to special-interest groups of the disabled or those with
medical or social science orientations.