Isabelle Ville


Social policies and disability pictures at 20th century in France

The fi eld of disability is thus formed from a long legacy of categories which emerged from particular situations, the common thread being what brings the constant relationship between body and society, or situations where a breach of the physical or psychological integrity jeopardizes the completion of a role or social activities normalized, especially the work, at least until recently. This article focuses on the 20th century, a particularly fruitful period in terms of meanings and devices related to the issue of disability. The combination of a political current, solidarism, a contingent event and signifi cant consequences, the Great War and the birth of the fi rst disabled associations, offers a particularly enlightening context for understanding both the dynamics of constitution of the fi eld disability, and protests and mobilizations of people with disabilities who have not since stopped tranform it. In France, the emergence of disability policies in the second half of the 20th century can be understood only in the context of resituated solidarism and social debt that is taking place during the Third Republic. Solidarity based on the assurance is then set up in the form of fi nancial compensation, however, confi ned to situations where the disability is the result of a collective activity. The subsequent labor shortage in the Great War will encourage the foundation of rehabilitation as directly affecting the mutilated bodies. Social law is established at the cost of a difference in treatment between categories of invalids, causing the mobilization of “civilian invalids” who are then excluded. Two contrasting pictures of disability will permanently echoed these social categorical treatment, until the homogenization of dedicated fi eld in France by the law of 30 June 1975 “for persons with disabilities”. The first one emphasizes the status of “victim of the Nation” and struggles for human rights, the other is derived form the subjectivity of disability as a “selftest” and normalization of disabled through rehabilitation.


Disability, Welfare, Body, Social Rights, the Great War


  • Non ci sono refbacks, per ora.

ISSN: 2465-0315

Registration with Court of Naples n. 24, dated 21.04.2015