Difference, Care and Autonomy: Culture and Human Rights in the Movement for Independent Living among the Japanese with Disabilities

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines the movement for independent living (IL movement) among the Japanese with disabilities from the perspective of multiculturalism and human rights. The IL movement questions the conventional idea, widely held by Japanese without disabilities, that disabled people are in need of special care and cannot live independently in ordinary communities. The IL movement advocates: 1) the reinterpretation of “disability” as mere “difference” (not inferiority or disease), 2) the equal right to autonomy and social participation for the disabled, and 3) the unique right to care and support that enable the disabled to be autonomous. The IL movement thus projects a new “disability culture” that assigns different meanings to disability and calls for radical change in social relationships. The IL movement then is one of many forces that celebrates diversity and advocates pluralism in Japanese society in defiance of the myth of a “homogeneous monocultural” Japan. The IL movement highlights the right to care as a basic human right which is a precondition for the right to autonomy. Consequently, the IL movement reinterprets the notion of autonomy and enriches the concept of “human rights.”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalGlobal Bioethics
Volume13
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jan 1

Keywords

  • Japan
  • disability
  • independent living

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy

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