Mike Oliver Disability Studies Pioneer has passed away

Mike Oliver, a pioneering disability studies scholar who coined the social model of disability, has died, according to reports.

Mike Oliver was best known for advocating that removing the disabling barriers that limit and oppress people with impairments is a social – not an individual – responsibility. At Equal Lives we carry out our work in line with the Social Model of Disability. As do many other organisations and individuals.

Mr Oliver, born in 1945, was Professor Emeritus of Disability Studies at the University of Greenwich. He did not invent the principles underlying the social model; they came out of a booklet published in 1976 by the British union of the Physically Disabled against Segregation in 1976. He did however name the social model, after developing the idea to aid students who were social workers and occupational therapists.

This is sad news and we will continue to work within the social model of disability and advocate this, you can find out more about this here: https://equallives.org.uk/about-us/social-model-of-disability/

Our best wishes go to his, family, friends and relatives.

Watch: Carmel Sepuloni tried to navigate Parliament in a wheelchair for Spinal Cord Injury Day. Credits: Image – YouTube; Video – The AM Show

Mike Oliver, a pioneering disability studies scholar who coined the influential social model of disability, has died, according to reports.

A number of widely-shared tweets mourn the March 3 passing of the UK’s first disability studies professor.

Mr Oliver is best known for affirming that removing the disabling barriers that limit and oppress people with impairments is a social – not an individual – responsibility.

“It [the social model] was basically giving you the opportunity, both personally and politically, to rethink about yourself and your position in society,” the quadriplegic explained on YouTube.

“The problem isn’t that I can’t get into a lecture theatre, the problem is that the lecture theatre isn’t accessible to me..
Carmel Sepuloni looking into raising pay for workers with disabilities
Disability advocate wins fight for crossing near Middlemore Hospital
‘I was breaking down’: Disabled mother’s gruelling search for accessible Auckland house

Dr Martin Sullivan, who designed and taught in New Zealand’s first postgraduate disability studies programme, described Mr Oliver as “an intellectual giant and a really good bloke.

Dr Sullivan travelled to England in 1998, specifically to meet disability studies and disability rights pioneers such as Mr Oliver.

“They were activists; they were brilliant scholars. Meeting Mike Oliver was going into the holy of the holies,” Dr Sullivan told Newshub.

Mr Oliver invited Dr Sullivan to his house, where they discussed disability theory – a little, and Leonard Cohen a lot – over several glasses of wine. They agreed that the social model was good at explaining external oppression on disabled people.

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