The paper analyzes the socialization of people with disabilities in modern society from a socio-philosophical point of view. Particular attention is paid to subculture as a factor of socialization of people with disabilities. Conclusions are drawn about the features of emergence and functioning of the subculture of physically disabled people, the subculture of intellectually disabled people and the subculture of people with autism. It is noted that the subculture of physically disabled people is a system capable of self-organization and self-development; the subculture of intellectually disabled people at the present stage of social development is not ready for self-organization and self-development; the subculture of people with autism is a structure with some reduced ability for self-organization, but the ability of further self-development. Patterns of relations between society and people with disabilities are revealed. Current trends in the relationship between society and people with disabilities are outlined. The study proposes ways to solve the problems of socialization of people with disabilities in modern Russian society. It is shown that the activities on improving the conditions for the socialization of people with disabilities should be carried out simultaneously in three closely interconnected areas: the prevailing image of a person with disabilities in public mind, “self-image” of a person with disabilities and external conditions of the socialization of people with disabilities.
In the modern world, human physicality is exposed to a significant number of damaging factors. The ability to timely offset the negative impact of these factors is an important condition for successful socialization.
One of the serious consequences of damage to human physicality is the disability of a person. In the modern world, about one out of 10 people is disabled. Moreover, according to the findings of a great number of domestic and foreign researchers, in almost all countries with the system of special education are characterized by the increase in the population of children with developmental disorders. In the Russian Federation, the total number of persons with disabilities is also steadily increasing, including through the birth of children with developmental disorders.
The relevance of the topic of socialization of people with disabilities is evidenced by a relatively large number of works on sociology, pedagogy and psychology devoted to this issue. However, as a rule, the study within these disciplines covers only part of the problem of socialization of people with a particular type of developmental disorder. At the same time, in Russian society there has long been a need for deep socio-humanitarian reflection of the considered issues of interest (Linkov, 1999). In fact, there are not many but still there are some philosophical studies somehow covering the problems of socialization of people with disabilities in modern Russian society. First of all, it is worth highlighting the works of such authors as Yarskaya-Smirnova (1999, 2005), Maximova (2002), Vasilieva (2006), Degtyareva (2007), Moskvicheva (2007), Pyatakova (2010), Shevchenko (2014), Barinova (2015) and some others.
Almost all people with damaged (disabled) physicality need special optimal conditions of socialization. The purposeful, comprehensive, consistent influence of the main socialization institutions for people with disabled physicality is more significant than for people with full-fledged physicality. disabled
At the same time, human physicality often becomes disabled as a result of adverse conditions of socialization. Subsequently, a person with already disabled physicality can continue to be negatively socialized by the main socialization institutions. Thus, in the process of further life, disabled physicality of a person often turns out not to be healed (as it should be), but even more damaged than it was initially (from the moment of its primary injury).
Today, one of the most vulnerable categories in Russian society are people with disabilities. Despite the fact that, according to a number of international and federal regulatory legal acts, people with disabilities in our country have equal rights with other citizens, and in recent years the state has set a legislative course to include such people in the society, in modern Russian society there is still a great number of additional difficulties and obstacles (barriers) to successful socialization and inclusion of people with disabilities.
At present, the study of socialization is an independent scientific field located at the intersection of almost all human and social sciences. The problem of the relationship between a man and a society, the question of the ratio of biological and social factors in the process of socialization, the structure (stages, factors, conditions, means, agents, “mechanisms”) of the socialization process, the analysis of the most common and developed concepts of domestic and foreign authors on the problem of socialization are particularly interesting when considering socialization as an object of study. Particular attention today is paid to the stylized “mechanism” of socialization. In order to better understand the essence of socialization of a person with disabilities it is important: to distinguish between such components as adaptation of an object to the environment, self-adaptation of an object and adaptation of the medium to an object in the process of adaptation; use the category “image of the world” (including “I-image”) during the study focusing on such a “constituent” as an “information code”, a “language”, etc.
A person may have full or partial problems with the ways of interaction with the surrounding world as vision, hearing, verbal speech, free movement in space, ability to operate abstract concepts, ability to understand and adequately express emotions, i.e. either physical or intellectual and spiritual qualities. The socialization of people with all types of violations of physical qualities will have some common features, different from the features of the socialization of people with intellectual and spiritual disorders.
With a certain degree of conventionality there are three large groups of people with disabilities: people with physical disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities, people with disabilities of mainly emotional-volitional sphere and social interaction.
The features of the socialization of people with physical disabilities can be presented as follows:
1. The socialization of each person with physical developmental disability is initially complicated to some degree at all levels of life, but the primary is the disability at the physiological level, and the disabilities at psychological, socio-psychological and social levels of life are secondary and can be reversible under certain conditions. 2. All physically disabled people have the disability for spontaneous development, i.e. self-study by imitation (especially in deafblind persons). 3. The socialization of a person with acquired physical disability differs from the socialization of a person with congenital physical disability. 4. At all levels of the socialization process, people with physical disabilities have compensatory mechanisms, bypass opportunities. Compensatory mechanisms at one (or more) levels may develop so strongly that it can lead to overcompensation.
The features of the socialization of people with intellectual disabilities can be presented as follows:
1. At all levels of life activity people with intellectual disabilities face certain difficulties in the process of socialization. The result of the socialization of a person with intellectual disabilities under any, even the most optimal conditions, will have certain limits due to cognitive defects. The very consciousness of such a person is potentially not able to accommodate the amount of information that is available to a person with normal intelligence. Besides, the consciousness of such person is poorly adapted for transformative activities, especially in the field of mental labor. 2. The ability to spontaneous development is significantly reduced in people with intellectual disabilities, as well as in people with physical disabilities. 3. The result of the socialization of a person with intellectual disabilities directly depends on the degree of expression of an intellectual defect – mild, medium or deep. The level of possible development and adaptive abilities at different degrees of mental retardation are very different from each other. 4. With high level of inclusion into the subculture of people with intellectual disabilities, the socialization of a person with intellectual disability is more successful. This is especially true for people with mild to deep degrees of mental retardation.
The features of the socialization of people with autism as one of the most severe disabilities of the emotional-volitional sphere and social interaction can be described as follows:
1. The possibilities of socialization in case of autism depend on the severity of its manifestation. A more or less successful result of the socialization process is possible, first of all, in people with high-functioning autism (Asperger syndrome). 2. To some extent all people with autism (as well as those with other developmental disorders) have reduced capacity for spontaneous development. 3. As a rule, in case of autism, there are difficulties at each level of the socialization process (physiological, psychological, socio-psychological, social). Under certain conditions, at each level of the socialization process, compensation (in some cases, overcompensation) of autistic manifestations is possible.
Attitudes towards people with disabilities differed sharply in different countries and at different periods of society (from complete rejection to creating conditions for inclusion into the society on an equal basis with other people).
For people with special needs, the most significant socialization institutions in the modern world are health care, family, education, and the media. The Institute of Special Education has been operating for more than a hundred years in Western countries and a little less than a hundred years in Russia, which from the very beginning was conceived not only as an institution for teaching and educating people with disabilities, but also as an institution that supports such people throughout all socialization stages.
If in Western society the system of special education was formed as a result of the natural evolution of the relationship between society and people with disabilities, then in Russia the development of the system of special education was largely the result of contributions from outside, from above. At the same time, domestic specialists of the special education system made a significant contribution to the development of methods of diagnostics, correction and compensation for impaired development.
A historical analysis of the attitude of society towards people with disabilities reveals certain patterns of the relationship between society and people with disabilities (Nagornaya & Nagorny, 2011; Potylitsyna, 2007).
In the modern world, the most visible trends in the relationship between society and people with disabilities are humanization, fundamentalization, holistic approach, differentiation, individualization, inclusion (as continued integration), autonomy, informatization, social activation, optimization.
The humanist approach is based on the idea of the value of every human life, the right of every person to self-determination, full and dignified existence.
Fundamentalization is expressed in rethinking and clarifying the fundamental provisions, strengthening the general basic theory. Fundamentalization implies close interaction of science and practice, as well as the optimal relationship of special education with other main institutions of socialization of people with disabilities – health care, family, media. Fundamentalization primarily involves the earliest possible diagnostics of impaired development (if possible prenatal), the necessary medical intervention, the use of optimal methods of education and upbringing using the latest scientific and technical achievements.
Thus, at the present stage of the development of the society, a variety of assistive/information technologies can significantly expand the living space of people with disabilities and serve a prerequisite for successful inclusion of a person with disabilities into the world of global culture.
A holistic approach involves corrective and developmental work at all levels of vital activity (physiological, psychological, socio-psychological, social) of a person with disability.
Due to further development of special education and related fields of knowledge, specialists have more opportunities for reliable diagnostics of previously undetectable developmental disorders and the development of independent methods for their correction.
Against the background of fundamentalization, holistic approach and differentiation the education of children with special educational needs is increasingly individualized these days. Experts conclude that each developmental disability is inherently unique, so the approach in each case should be individual.
(as a continuation of integration). A consistent continuation of the idea of integration was the idea of inclusion. Many researchers consider these two terms as synonyms. The objectives of integration and inclusion are similar – giving a person with disabilities the rights and real opportunities to participate in all types and forms of social life on an equal basis with the rest of the society in conditions that compensate him for developmental disability and limitations of opportunities. However, inclusion is conceptually different from integration. If integration is the “recovery of the whole”, then inclusion is “belonging”. Integration involves the adaptation of a person with disability to society, with inclusion, on the contrary, society adapts to the needs of a person with disability.
Inclusion can be defined as the engagement of a person in society together and on an equal basis with other people, but with the optimal use of the available means of socialization.
Today, at the legislative level, our country has set a course towards inclusion creating an accessible environment, removing architectural, organizational, legal, technical and technological, socio-psychological, psychological, cultural, informational, cognitive, linguistic and other barriers between society and people with disabilities. To this end, the federal target program “Accessible Environment” has been launched in Russian society since 2011.
Regarding the problem of study, the literature notes that the inclusion of people with disabilities in our country involves the transition of all Russian society to a higher stage of moral, cultural, social, political development (Kirillova, 2015).
The trend of informatization implies public awareness of the main issues of prevention, diagnostis, correction and compensation of various psychophysical development disorders. The media and the education system are essential for further reinforcement of this trend.
The trend of social activation implies the creation of conditions for active and mass participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of public life. First of all, it is necessary to optimize the process of professional adaptation of such persons. Social activation also implies the formation of certain qualities in people with disabilities.
The trend of autonomy is closely linked to the trend of inclusion. The idea of the trend of autonomy in the first place is that a person with disabilities has every right to be different from the healthy majority. He has the right to optimal conditions for socialization, including the means and sphere of communication.
Optimization is based on striving for the best result at the lowest cost in a relatively short period of time. This trend should cover all components of the socialization of persons with special educational needs.
Modern trends in the relationship between society and people with disabilities are the result of the evolution of the relationship between society and people with disabilities; to varying degrees, they are specific in every developed country. At the same time, the peculiarities of their manifestations in each particular state largely depend on economic opportunities (including the level of development of information and computer technologies), political and legal attitudes, scientific, philosophical, religious, moral views of this society, etc.
The difficulties of the socialization of people with disabilities in modern Russian society arise not only due to the imperfection of external factors of socialization of people with disabilities, but also due to the peculiarities of the society’s attitude to these people, as well as due to psychological characteristics of the disabled themselves, their attitude to themselves and their social position.
Thus, for a long time there has been no understanding in the public consciousness of Russian society of the image of a person with disabilities as a person capable of full active life with high public status. Public opinion seemed to proceed from the fact that a decrease in the functional capabilities of a person automatically leads to a narrowing of his range of needs.
In particular, a survey of 108 people conducted in 2008 showed that in modern Russian society the predominant image of a person with disabilities is the image of a destitute, unfortunate, unreliable, not always predictable, usually low-income and socially unsuccessful person, who is very often discriminated against in all areas of society. Certainly, such a person causes, first of all, a feeling of pity, as well as a feeling of awkwardness, tension. Such a person can overcome public attitudes, increase the attractiveness of his image in public consciousness only as a result of hard work, achieving what many non-disabled people would like to achieve.
At the same time, a survey conducted in the fall of 2019 showed an increase in the number of respondents whose consciousness almost completely lacks the opposition “we are full-fledged” and “they are handicapped”. These respondents tend to perceive people with disabilities as full-fledged people with their own characteristics; distinguish between the concepts of “disabled” and “unhappy person”, i.e. they admit that a person with disability may well be happy, he simply needs special conditions for this. Besides, a 2019 study concluded that Russians, on average, have become much more informed on the issues of socialization and inclusion of people with disabilities.
Nevertheless, modern Russian society continues to expose people with disabilities to a large number of psycho-traumatic situations, which negatively affects such a component of their psyche as the “I-image”.
The external conditions of socialization of people with disabilities include this objective reality that they face in the process of their life. Almost all disabled people in our country today face a sharp restriction of living space (a certain environment in which a person (personality) reproduces himself as an individual, with all its inherent features (Sidorov, 2004)).
Accordingly, there is a need to improve the conditions for the socialization of people with disabilities in three closely interconnected areas simultaneously: 1) the prevailing image of a person with disabilities in public awareness; 2) the “I-image” of a person with disability; 3) the external conditions of the socialization of people with disabilities.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to identify the main problems of the process of socialization of people with disabilities at the current stage of Russian society development and to determine the optimal ways to solve them.
Theoretical and methodological basis of the study is formed by the principles of dialectical-materialistic methodology of scientific knowledge. The sources of the study included the works of domestic and foreign authors on special pedagogy, special psychology, psychotherapy, neurophysiology, psychology of general abilities, personality psychology, social philosophy, cultural anthropology, sociology, philosophy of consciousness, philosophy of cognition, etc., somehow affecting the problems of human socialization, various problems of socialization of people with disabilities.
The empirical basis of the study and its processing methods are as follows: synthesis, systematization of domestic and foreign regulatory and legal documents governing the relationship between society and people with disabilities; analysis of sociological surveys conducted by the author.
1. The subculture of people with physical disabilities is a natural phenomenon of the social world, serving as a structure capable of self-organization and self-development. The constituent elements of this structure (individuals with physical disabilities, groups of such people) are able to create “intellectual impulses” and, accordingly, are able to receive “intellectual impulses” from the society, process them and again send this intellectual information to the society. In general, the subculture of people with physical disabilities expects not so much intellectual but information and psychological support from the public world.
2. Today, the subculture of people with intellectual underdevelopment is not capable of self-development and self-organization. Its emergence and existence require organizational, supportive efforts of the society. Unlike people with physical disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities have a reduced ability to produce “intellectual impulses”. Therefore, the subculture of such people primarily needs intellectual and emotional support of the society. Receiving intellectual and emotional support from the society, such people are capable of productive emotional, physical, creative interaction with it.
3. The subculture of people with autism is a structure with somewhat reduced ability to self-organization, but capable of further self-development. The constituent elements of this structure (primarily individuals with high-functioning autism, groups of such people) can often produce and send “intellectual impulses” to the society at a fairly high level, as well as receive “intellectual impulses” from the society, process them and again send this intellectual information to the society. In the subculture of people with autism, the ability to produce “emotional impulses” is most limited. The subculture of people with autism expects from the society, first of all, information, socio-psychological and organizational support.
4. The main patterns of the relationship between society and people with disabilities can be presented as follows: 1) the criteria for disturbed/undisturbed development in different cultures differ from each other, largely determined by the inability/ability of a person to absorb and reproduce the social experience of this society in a generally accepted way; 2) the more the society fosters the idea of inequality between nations, individual strata of the society (i.e. how much one part of the society considers it possible to infringe on another part of the society in pursuit of its interests), the worse the vast majority of the society treats people with disabilities; 3) in the presence of crisis phenomena in the society, the number of aggressive statements and actions by the society in relation to people with disabilities increases; 4) the rejection of humanistic values, the promotion of inhuman treatment of individual social groups by the authorities, including people with disabilities, sooner or later leads the society to a critical stage of development accompanied by the collapse of stable relationship of its basic elements. If the moral decomposition of society continues, then this leads to its death; 5) the most adequate attitude towards people with disabilities is expected in the situation of leveling contrasts between different cultures, in the perception of the society as a combination of many equal cultures that interact with each other through a dialogue.
5. The main modern trends in the relationship between the society and people with disabilities are humanization, fundamentalization, holistic approach, differentiation, individualization, inclusion (as a continuation of integration), autonomy, informatization, social activation, optimization.
Under certain circumstances each of the identified trends may be shift to the opposite direction. For further optimal development of these trends in a particular society, it is primarily necessary to take into account the type of society when introducing newly formed structures in one or more areas of public life; to create conditions for all spheres of the society to emerge from the crisis if it is in a critical stage (in the stage of degeneration) of its development; to take measures to create an adequate attitude of the society towards people with disabilities, which involves building the image of a subculture of people with disabilities in the public consciousness as an equal culture with which you need and can adequately interact.
6. The conditions for the socialization of people with disabilities should be improved simultaneously in three closely interconnected areas (“paths”): 11) the prevailing image of a person with disabilities in public awareness; 2) the “I-image” of a person with disability; 3) the external conditions of the socialization of people with disabilities.
The limited capabilities of people with disabilities are not a consequence of developmental disability as such, but the result of the attitude of the society towards people with disabled physicality. The attitude of the society towards people with disabilities depends on many factors, however, it is primarily determined by the level of development of humanistic tendencies in this society.
Today, as a rule, people with disabilities have higher level of social inclusion in Western society compared to Russian. This is largely caused by the fact that currently, unlike Russian society, the law governing the relationship between society and people with disabilities in Western countries is more adequately applied in practice.
In modern Russian society the difficulties of the socialization of people with disabilities arise both due to the imperfection of external factors of socialization of people with disabilities (objective reality/social being), and due to inadequate attitude of the society to these people, as well as due to psychological characteristics of the disabled themselves, their inadequate attitude to themselves and their social position (subjective reality/social consciousness and individual consciousness). Therefore, the conditions for the socialization of people with disabilities should be improved in three closely interconnected areas simultaneously: the prevailing image of a person with disabilities in public awareness; the “I-image” of a person with disability; and the external conditions of the socialization of people with disabilities.
The issues raised in the paper are certainly extremely relevant to modern humankind. We believe that this study reveals a wide scope for further research on various aspects of the socialization of a person with disabilities in a socio-philosophical perspective.
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17 May 2021
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Nagornaya, L. A. (2021). Socialization Of People With Disabilities In The Modern Russian Society. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1138-1147). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.152