Abstract of the Paper: Children who are born with the Down syndrome problem suffer from disability. As a result of their condition, they are faced with stigma, and discrimination. The theory of social identity better explains how discrimination, and stigma targeted to people with disability develop…
For many years, disabled people have faced stigma and discrimination. Shildrick (2009) denotes that during the ancient eras, a child born with any defect was either killed, or left in the wild. Shildrick observes that the Down syndrome phenomenon causes disability among children (2009). This problem makes children to feel inferior and this result to their exclusion from the various social affairs within the community (Shildrick, 2009). DePoy et al (2011) denotes that the Down syndrome phenomenon disfigures the face of a child. This condition has a direct influence on a child’s perception in the society (DePoy et al, 2011).This condition leads to the notion of social identity, which is a perception or attitude an individual or a group has towards another person or group. On this note, children with this condition place themselves within a specific social group that identifies with their needs and problems (DePoy et al, 2011). The social identity theory, developed by John Turner and Henri Tajfel best explains this problem (Tajfel, 1982). The social identity theory denotes that socialization is a process, and social identity is a process within socialization (Frances, 2004).According to Frances, for an individual to gain acceptance by a particular group, the same individual must portray similar characteristics with the particular group (2004). Frances further denotes that these shared characteristics provide a legitimate reason for the individual to gain acceptance within the particular group under consideration (2004). The social identity theory, as advocated by Henri Tajfel and John Turner denotes that a disabled person withdraws from the various activities within a society, because of the social environment in which they operate on. According to Giddens (2009), this withdrawal emanates from their inability to engage effectively with other social groups that operate within a community. Giddens introduces an aspect of the gaze theory in explaining the problems of the disabled within a community. Giddens (2009) denotes that the gaze theory measures the level of interaction between a child with disability, and a normal child. He further observes that the theory provides a solution that will address the various difficulties that disabled children suffer from, but this depends on the acceptance by the disabled person that he or she needs the help of a society (2009). The social identity theory emphasizes on limiting certain freedoms of these people, such as of movement and association (Oliver, 1990). Bluhm (2009) observes that the theory groups these people into a social group, this for purposes of identifying their needs and effectively satisfying them. This precipitates the construction of a social group, because the disabled are grouped according to their characteristics. This construed identity increases the level of discrimination and stigma in the society (Tremain, 2006). Raiser denotes that the social identity theory places people into groups, basing on their physical and social characteristics (1995). Bluhm et al (2009) introduces the notion of the gaze theory. He denotes that the theory observes the image of a person, and makes its comparison with a visual text (Bluhm et al, 2009). After analyzing the results of the comparisons, an individual is placed within a ...
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