The Deficit View and Its Critics

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The Deficit View and Its Critics
Janette Dinishak
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
[email protected]
Please do not cite this presentation without permission from the
author.
The conference presentation consisted of the reading of a draft
of a paper by the same name. The following slides were used
mainly for signposting.
A Few Cases
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School Failure
Female Moral Development
Bilingualism
Remote Rural Health
Focus Case: Autism
For comparison’s sake:
School Failure
Autism
Theory of Mind
(ToM)Hypothesis
ToM deficit --> Mindblindness, Lack
of Empathy
Neurodiversity
• A position or outlook: some forms of atypical
neurological “wiring” in humans, such as autism,
may be positive variations (Blume, 1998)
• “[A]utism should be described and investigated
as a variant within the human species. These
variations in gene sequence or expression may
have adaptive or maladaptive consequences, but
they cannot be reduced to an error of nature that
should be corrected” (Mottron, 2011, 35).
Conceptual Unclarities at the Heart of
the Deficit View and Critiques of the
Deficit View
I. What is the deficit view?
II. Are deficit views sometimes
inappropriate or never appropriate?
III. Are deficit views indeed harmful/
will prove harmful in the future or do
they (simply) warrant our proceeding
cautiously?
I. What is the deficit view? What is
the target of critiques of the deficit
view?
Terms
Deficit Terms
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“deficit-model”
“deficit view”
“deficit-laden perception”
deficit-centered research”
“deficit account”
“deficit narrative”
“deficit lens”
“deficit-based methodology”
“deficit ideology”
“deficit thinking”
Contrast Terms
• “strengths-based (view,
model, approach)”
• “asset-based (view, model,
approach)”
• “resiliency view”
• “constructionist model”
I.
a. Scope
Approach, focus, orientation, way of
thinking
vs
Specific line of explanation, thesis, or
hypothesis
I.
b. Conflations
In the deficit view and in critiques of the
deficit view.
i.
ii.
iii.
Lack w/ deficit
Deficit w/ pathology
Pathology w/ deviation
Deficit Attribution
A lack or absence of F in X is a necessary but
not sufficient condition for X to suffer a deficit
of F.
Roughly, X suffers a deficit of F only if X lacks F
and X ought to have or be F.
Deviation, Pathology, Deficit
Deficiency 
Mean
 Excess
“Mean” and “deviation” have both
descriptive and evaluative senses.
Three Key Components of
Critiques of the Deficit View
I. Endogenous Explanation
II. Pathologizing Differences
III. Privative Explanation and
Description
Privative explanation and description is a
feature of deficit thinking that
distinguishes it from other variants of
pathologizing differences.
A/Not-A Dichotomy (Jay, 1981)
A: construed positively, in terms of
presence
Not-A: construed negatively, in terms
of absence
= a lesser form of A
Distinguish two concerns about the deficit
view:
It is socially harmful.
It impedes progress in our understanding
of the phenomena themselves.
Take-Home Point
Articulating and assessing deficit views
is of practical and theoretical
importance.
Acknowledgements
Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and Religion,
VU University Amsterdam
Nameera Akhtar
Mandel Cabrera
Jonathan Ellis
Andrew Hsu
Paul Roth
Rasmus Winther
(UCSC, Developmental Psychology)
(Philosophy, Yonsei University)
(Philosophy, UCSC)
(Philosophy, UCLA)
(Philosophy, UCSC)
(Philosophy, UCSC)
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