Embodiment and Visual Impairment: Economic Considerations and The Social Construction of Blindness
This study examines the multiple and energetic ways the visually impaired persons perceive the image of their body in relation to their social identity. It as well examines the issue of disability, blindness and chronic disease regarding the social construction of everyday life of these people. The contribution is based on the qualitative sociological analysis of empirical material that was collected mainly in the form of semi-structured interviews with participants that experience severe difficulties with their vision. Triangulation was applied in order to ensure increased reliability and validity of the results. People with vision problems construct their social identity based on a strong relationship to their senses and bodies. More particularly, the interpretative schemes of the participants in research reveal that they follow concrete strategies promoting personal care and hygiene in order to increase the possibilities to interact with other social groups. Visually impaired people, as the interviews reveal, seem to emphasize more on their personal experiences than their external appearance, always compared to subjects with “normal” vision levels. The findings demonstrate that there is a significant difference in the ways people with visual impairment understand social reality and interact with others according to whether they have this problem since their birth or faced it at a later stage of their biography. The results may allow investments in medical economy with important repercussion in the well being of these people and in this sector of socio-economics. These investments may assist these people to get socially included and be energetic and active instead of being dependant and passive. That implies that some of these people may be included in some tasks with economic value.