A Quality of Life Perspective on the New Eugenics

Ivan Brown, Roy I. Brown, Alice Schippers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Quality of life is a concept that has had robust development and application in the field of intellectual disability in recent decades. It functions as an apt goal for individuals to enhance their lives, as well as for policy and disability support. Quality of life helps address ethical issues by acting as a key guidepost in ethical considerations. Current philosophical and human rights approaches to disability support the view that intellectual disability is no reason to assume poor quality of life. Moreover, individuals with intellectual disabilities themselves typically rate their own quality of life quite high. Similarly, families perceive disability as contributing to family quality of life in some ways, although this is tempered by social constructs, especially normalcy, that support marginalization and discrimination. Disability Studies, and critical disability theory that constitutes much of its foundation, offer an alternative perspective of intellectual disability that values its contribution to larger society-intellectual disability as a positive and necessary aspect of the diversity within the human mosaic. It is argued that this perspective of intellectual disability negates the necessity of new eugenics practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • disability studies
  • eugenics
  • intellectual disability
  • quality of life

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