Why is language an important tool in shaping social problems?
analyzis of policies has focused on how language is used to shape perceptions of a social problem. Discourses shape and become institutionalized in social policies and the organizations through which they are carried out. The Scottish government has made a delivery plan which sets to change the language used towards disabled individuals over the period 2016-20. The delivery plan supports the social model of disability, which views disability as the relationship between the individual and society. It sees the barriers created by society as the cause of disadvantage such as the negative use of language, rather than the disability itself. By changing the use of the negative language to positive, the Scottish government hopes to eradicate the view that disability is a social problem and create equality. For instance, ‘Disabled Parking’ is now ‘Accessible Parking’; Disabled Toilets are now ‘Accessible Toilets’. By using positive and empowering words it can change the view of disability and to help decline them being classed as a social problem. Another example of policy change is under the new system in Scotland, welfare benefits will be called “Assistance”. It is not a benefit, a gain or somebody giving me a gift. It was supposed to be assistance just to get me to the point where I am level with everybody else. This change of language is deliberate and will challenge the labeling of people with disabilities as “incapable” and a “burden”. With the government using new terminology, it will challenge society to reconsider their view of disabilities and whether it should be classed as a social problem.