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1.3: Community

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    Summary: Community

    • A community is a mutually-supportive group of people who share a common culture, language, and purpose
    • There are multiple, diverse disability communities
    • The individuals who make up disability communities are also diverse, and members of multiple other communities
    • This book seeks to incorporate as many disability communities and disabled voices as possible; however the impossibility of full representation is one of its limits

    A population is a group of people who share some characteristic, for example the population of people who have a hearing loss, or the population of people with brown eyes. When this text uses the word “population” it is in this way.

    A community may include members of a population, but it is defined differently. A community is a group of people with shared history, values, culture, language, and symbols which provides members with mutual support and a sense of belonging. When this book refers to disability communities or to a specific disability community, like the Deaf community, it is in this way.

    The use of plural (disability communities) and singular (Deaf community) in the previous paragraph is very deliberate. For people who have not spent a lot of time connected to disability culture, it might seem like there is—or would be—a single “disability community.” However, disability is a huge domain with many different populations and disability communities are many, diverse, and sometimes overlapping.
    Disability communities may form around type of disability, use of specific types of assistive technology, common goals or priorities, intersecting identities, a particular shared history, specific interests or vocations—anything that a community could form around. Disability culture is rich, diverse, and continuously evolving, even when it is marginalized or left out of mainstream discourses. Disability studies focuses on that richness and brings it into the center.

    While this text includes history, quotes, perspectives, and contributions from as wide range of disability communities as possible, there are as many and more communities not represented here. As with the other limitations in this textbook, I enthusiastically encourage readers to seek beyond the boundaries to other communities and their contributions to the world. Disability culture is rich and rewarding, and worth taking a place at center.

    This page titled 1.3: Community is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dora Raymaker via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.