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James W. Trent

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date: 27 February 2021

The chapter introduces each of the book’s eight chapters. It then notes the book’s three central themes: (1) over the United States history of intellectual disability, care has been an effective and integral part of social control, (2) the meaning of intellectual disability has centered on technical, particularistic and psycho-medical themes, and (3) the economic vulnerability of intellectually disabled people and their families, more than their supposed intellectual limitations, has shaped contours of treatment and labels. The chapter ends with an overview of the book’s assumptions about intellectual disability as a social problem and the purpose of history.

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