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The Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) Statement.

What: UPIAS is widely recognised as producing the first articulation of the social model of disability. The UPIAS declared that “In our view, it is society which disables physically impaired people. Disability is something imposed on top of our impairments, by the way we are unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society” (UPIAS, 1976, p. 4). As a result, disability is socially constructed oppression; the inaccessible environment produces disabilities, not the impairments themselves. 

Why significant: This allowed disability to be seen as a systemic, social issue that governments could (and should) do something about rather than an individual tragedy.


Fundamental Principles of Disability, Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation