Pity and pragmatism: understandings of disability in northeast Thailand

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Naemiratch, Bhensri and Manderson, Lenore (2009) Pity and pragmatism: understandings of disability in northeast Thailand. Disability and Society, 24 (4). pp. 475-488. ISSN 0968-7599 (print), 1360-0508 (online)


Cultural models of illness causation and treatment inform community understandings of and responses to disability. Data collected as part of a multi‐country study, conducted in 2002–2007, illustrate how villagers from northeastern Thailand conceptualise disability (pikarn). Local understandings of causality are shaped by Buddhist beliefs in accumulated demerit, and this significantly influences attitudes towards illness, adversity and bodily states. Buddhist notions of love and compassion (metta and kurana) inform appropriate responses to people living with disabilities, while local distinctions of ability and disability inform expressions of sympathy and/or pity (songsarn), with implications for the social participation of people with a disability.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/4485
DOI 10.1080/09687590902879106
Official URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/0968759...
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Keywords ResPubID18995, Thailand, causality, cultural values, disability, sympathy
Citations in Scopus 16 - View on Scopus
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