The Practice of Care and Variances of “Disability”: How People with Disabilities Enhance Care Systems and Community Formation in Thailand(The Practice of Care and Variances of “Disability”: How People with Disabilities Enhance Care Systems and Community Formation in Thailand)
- Other Title
- ケアの実践と「障害」の揺らぎ : タイ障害者の生活実践におけるケアとコミュニティ形成(特集 研究と実務を架橋する実践的地域研究)
Search this article
By examining how care is practiced in the community in Thailand from the perspective of people with disabilities (PWDs), this paper attempts to trace how “disability” enhances communication between PWDs and people in the community, and how it organizes the human network towards formation of a new community that shares commonality and sociality. PWDs have needs for care which the public care system does not suffi ciently support. The more severe their disability, the greater will be demand for care to meet their basic daily care needs. Therefore, most Thais with disabilities who live in a community depend on care given by family or neighbors. It is not uncommon in Thai society for family take care of a disabled member with the cooperation of a wider network of kin. In addition to family support, most PWDs can utilize inexpensive community services. Thus, PWDs live closely with people in the community. In my investigation in Thailand, however, the role of “care” is not only in providing services for PWDs. It also functions as a tool for building relationships between PWDs and people in the community, as well as among PWDs. Through the practice of care, PWDs construct new relationships and re-defi ne what they can and can not do. This means that disability no longer depends solely on the physical condition of PWDs, but rather that it must be defi ned as being created in the social processes involving both the PWDs and the surrounding environment. Relationships among PWDs as well as between PWDs and non-PWDs are based on the fact of “disability.” Due to this common premise, PWDs and community members can have basic communication, and PWDs can gain care from them smoothly. In their community, PWDs manage their life and getting care by using disability as a skill of communication. Through cooperative activities of care, PWDs are creating a new community by sharing the common experience of disability and care, extending the practice of care into the public sphere.
- Asian and African Area Studies
Asian and African Area Studies 10 (2), 220-256, 2011-03