Fear of the disability con : public perceptions of abuse of disability rights

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Americans with disabilities nowadays enjoy legal protection and acknowledgment of their status as a discrete and insular minority. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides for accommodations and rights to allow people with disabilities to navigate civic life and end their historic exclusion from society. As Law & Society scholarship has demonstrated, however, there is a gap between the law on the books and the law in action. Thus, the grant of disability rights comes at a price as they are viewed as "special rights" prone to abuse. People who park in disabled parking spots, use service dogs, move to the front of lines, receive Social Security benefits, or request academic accommodations are often viewed as faking disabilities and abusing the law. I refer to the moral panic about abuse of disability rights as the "fear of the disability con." This disability con stereotype affects the lives of members of the disability community by influencing the ways they negotiate their rights. It also impacts the legitimacy of disability law in the eyes of the public that enforces the policies in everyday situations and decision-making processes by policymakers. Despite its importance, this stereotype has yet to be addressed in legal scholarship, and prior articulations of the issue by members of the disability community have been based on individual anecdotes, making it difficult for policymakers and advocates to understand its scope and the psychological mechanism that drives it. This three-part dissertation comes to fill this gap using a mixed methods approach that includes an observational survey, a series of survey experiments, qualitative interviews, and legal analysis of case law and legislation.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2019; ©2019
Publication date 2019; 2019
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Dorfman, Doron
Degree supervisor MacCoun, Robert J
Thesis advisor MacCoun, Robert J
Thesis advisor Belt, Rabia
Thesis advisor Markus, Hazel Rose
Thesis advisor Meyler, Bernadette
Thesis advisor Schweik, Susan M. (Susan Marie), 1956-
Degree committee member Belt, Rabia
Degree committee member Markus, Hazel Rose
Degree committee member Meyler, Bernadette
Degree committee member Schweik, Susan M. (Susan Marie), 1956-
Associated with Stanford University, School of Law.


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Doron Dorfman.
Note Submitted to the School of Law JSD.
Thesis Thesis JSD Stanford University 2019.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2019 by Doron Dorfman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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