Janet Duncan

Interdependence, Capability, and Competence as a Framework for Eco-Ability

By, Janet Duncan


Duncan identifies the principles of inclusion as applied to human and nonhuman animals and the environment, and discusses the relevance of Marsha Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach to understanding humans with disabilities as it also pertains to nonhuman animals and the environment. She proposes an alliance based on mutuality and interdependence, presumption of competence, and upholding the “least dangerous assumption”—assuming that the Other (be it human, nonhuman or an ecosystem) is capable and competent, just as we assume the potentiality of a newborn (nondisabled) human.


Janet Duncan, Ph.D is the Director of the Institute for Disability Studies at SUNY Cortland. She is a founding member and the first Chair of the Foundations and Social Advocacy Deptartment of Education at SUNY Cortland. The department is committed to teaching pre-service teachers and graduate students about issues related to disability and the social construction of identities. Her research interests include international human rights for persons with disabilities, Education for All, and inclusive international development. She has written articles concerning communication rights for persons with disabilities and is currently working on a book about Michael Kennedy, self-advocate.


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