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In pursuit of standardization: The British Ministry of health's model 8F Wheelchair, 1948-1962

Woods, B. and Watson, N. (2004) In pursuit of standardization: The British Ministry of health's model 8F Wheelchair, 1948-1962. Technology and Culture, 45 ( 3). pp. 540-568. ISSN 0040-165X

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[FIRST PARAGRAPH] For millions of disabled people around the world one of the most important sites of technological innovation over the last hundred years was the wheelchair. During the twentieth century wheelchairs were transformed from cumbersome machines designed principally to transport a "patient" from one place to another (usually within the confines of an institution, be it hospital or residence) into powerful tools of personal mobility. Indeed, the wheelchair's diffusion throughout the industrialized world, though far from complete, has rendered it almost universally recognizable and institutionalized it as a cultural symbol representing all disabled people. At the same time, the move toward greater social inclusion of disabled people, an outcome of their struggles for independence, has changed the meaning of disability and its consequences for individual lives. Yet both historians and sociologists have remained relatively silent on this technology, offering little analysis of it or of the relations between these two important currents of social and technological change.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Sociology (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 20 May 2009 15:46
Last Modified: 20 May 2009 15:46
Published Version: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/technology_and_cultur...
Status: Published
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7563

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