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Representations, Metaphors and meaning of the Term Handicap in France: Representations of Handicap in France

Abstract : In France, as opposed to most European countries the use of the term "handicap" is not only used as a noun, it is also used as an attribute to designate people living with disabilities. Thus, it was of particular interest to understand the representations, the metaphors and the meanings related to the term "handicap". A qualitative study, using in depth open-ended interviews was carried in France. The material collected was analysed through a content analysis, in order to identify the metaphors and shed light on their underlying meanings. Our study, has demonstrated that the representations of handicap do not reflect word for word the official classification separating the motor, sensorial, mental and social components of disabilities. In the representations, the various components are restructured in different configurations, which give specific meanings and values to each one in the context of a global representation of human social functioning and its avatars. "Mental handicap" appears to be the most handicapping of all disabilities and functions as metaphor for all the conditions, states, situations and persons designated by the term “handicap”.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-00184759
Contributor : Alain Giami <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 13, 2009 - 11:33:01 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 5:07:04 PM
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Alain Giami, Korpès Jean-Louis, Chantal Lavigne. Representations, Metaphors and meaning of the Term Handicap in France: Representations of Handicap in France. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2007, Vol 9 (34), pp.199-213. ⟨10.1080/15017410701680712⟩. ⟨inserm-00184759⟩

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