After the 1970s, the movement of disabled persons in Japan has been practiced as a part of the “new social movement”. Moreover, disability studies in Japan tended to interpret this achievement in a positive manner. The studies asserted the relativity of the difference between disabled and non-disabled persons and the necessity for non-disabled persons to be aware of their exclusive position. This article focuses on “independent living” by disabled persons as one of the most important results of this trend and the thesis “care workers must work as hand and foot of disabled persons” using by defining care workers the most probable ones to intervene in it. This thesis implies that the “reciprocal flow of emotion” is not a characteristic of care and that care workers must work invisibly and anonymously. The significance of this implication certainly endures to date.
However, the lives of disabled persons who receive care have been exposed to new possibilities by the consistent intervention of care workers; however, the dilemma is that the presence of a care worker cannot necessarily be avoided. In fact, at places of care, we cannot deny the importance of the intervention of others. In the relationship between the “disabled person and the care worker”, intervention is already structurally inherent.
Thus, this article discusses the impossibility of making care workers unnecessary, which is based on my knowledge acquired from participant observations of “independent living”. Further, it points out the difference between two axes, namely, the relationship between disability and non-disability and that between disabled persons and care workers, which often tend to be included in the same category.
These points show the significance of discussion with foregrounding of “the reality of care workers” which often tended to be missed, in the argument for “care”.
The Japan Sociological Society