An Analysis of the Relational Experiences of Those with Visual Disabilities




Pendleton, Emily

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Friendship is universally recognized as necessary to a fulfilling life, as can be seen since the time of Aristotle. The idea of obtaining and maintaining meaningful relationships is so engrained in our society that it is challenging to find a song or book that does not focus on the value of human companionship in some way. While every poet, songwriter, philosopher, and scientist have different opinions on what friendship is, it is still recognized as universally necessary. Friendship manifests itself in innumerable ways in every person’s life, making it difficult to quantify, but a field is emerging that studies the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of friendship. This thesis evaluates social support for people who have visual impairments, looking at their social networks and how their daily lives are affected by stigma, ultimately analyzing the humanness of friendship and its ideal forms in societies across the world, as well as how people with visual and other disabilities thrive in a world structured and restricted by social norms.