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Disability: leaning away from the curve
  1. Edwin Jesudason
  1. Correspondence to Dr Edwin Jesudason, Rehabilitation Medicine, NHS Lothian, Astley Ainslie Hospital, Edinburgh EH9 2HL, UK; edwin.jesudason{at}


This response to Evans et al encourages broader consideration of what constitutes disability, extending beyond a protagonist’s capabilities toward society’s fuller chorus. Three avenues are submitted to encourage this. First, Engel’s biopsychosocial paradigm of health can be helpfully applied to the question of identity in general, and disability in particular. Second, the philosophy of language (and of naming) gives useful insight into the pitfalls of trying to define disability via descriptions of capability. Third, Kennedy’s critique ‘Unmasking Medicine’ offers a sociopolitical view that builds on Foucault and Illich allowing us to recognise that it matters who judges who, as disabled, and on what grounds. Alongside this, I suggest alternative views first, on the authors’ liberal use of bell curves in the depiction of disability and second, on their terminology of capacity spaces.

  • Disability
  • Gender Identity

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  • Contributors EJ is the sole author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.