The Multi-dimensional Identity: The Case of the Blind Immigrant in Ireland

By Esther Murphy.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Debate about identity, ethnicity and disability in the past has taken place in isolation from another. Yet the intrinsic shaping of human identity is constructed at the intersection of a multitude of diverse and complex dimensions, and for this reason disability identity must not be neglected. This paper asserts that integrating disability as a category of representation within Intercultural Studies deepens and challenges our accepted views of identity construction. Past representation of disability identity marked disabled people as alien. Clear parallels in the language adopted are visible with the case of the (mis)representation of the newcomer to Ireland. People with disabilities are considered a minority group. Owing to their ethnic minority status in Ireland today, immigrants are also categorized as a minority group. What about the case of the individual who has a multi-dimensional identity? What are the implications of disability and ethnicity on the shaping of their identity? This paper intends to engage with these questions by offering a critical analysis of the situation of disability models and the impact of the shift in the understanding of disability not exclusively as a medical issue but rather as a socio-cultural construct. It focuses on the case of the double minority identity specifically, the blind immigrant in Ireland.

Keywords: Disability Studies, Immigrant, Intercultural Studies, Blind, Visually Impaired

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp.117-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 576.685KB).

Dr. Esther Murphy

PhD Research Student, School of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

Esther Murphy works as an Assistant Lecturer in Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University and also an intercultural trainer at the National Council for the Blind of Ireland. She has a background in social work research, immigration policy, language teaching and disability issues. Her interests include cross-cultural disability research, identity studies, social policy. She is currently undertaking her PhD at the School of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University in Ireland.

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