Disablement & The Brazilian Armed Forces

Research Paper Title

The meanings assigned to disablement based on military ‘habitus’.


This is a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews, with the aim of analysing the meanings associated with a social phenomenon, specifically disabilities in the military field.


A total of 22 people were interviewed, 3 managers and 19 Brazilian Navy professionals responsible for coordinating, standardising, enforcing and overseeing the Special Care Programme (Programa de Assistência Especial) in Rio de Janeiro. Data was processed using the Interpretation of Meaning Approach, based on the concept of disablement and military habitus.


The results show interpretations that completely deny the possibility of disabled persons in the military, considering such an idea to be insane. Others welcome the idea, albeit limited to administration, logistics and support functions.


The researchers find that the greatest hurdle for the involvement of people with disabilities in the Brazilian Navy is not their bodies, but the stigma associated with disablement. Their bodies become the main defining and deprecatory element of these subjects.


Moreira, N.X., Cavalcanti, L.F. & Souza, R.O. (2016) The Meanings Assigned to Disablement Based on Military ‘Habitus’. Ciencia & Saude Coletiva. 21(10), pp.3027-3035. doi: 10.1590/1413-812320152110.14472016.


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