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Book

The body and physical difference: discourses on disability

Editors:
MITCHELL David T., SNYDER Sharon L., (eds)
Publisher:
University of Michigan Press
Publication year:
1997
Pagination:
300p.
Place of publication:
Ann Arbor, MI

The book seeks to introduce the field of disability studies into the humanities by exploring the fantasies and fictions that have crystallized around conceptions of physical and cognitive difference. Based on the premise that the significance of disabilities in culture and the arts has been culturally vexed as well as historically erased, the collection probes our society's pathological investment in human variability and "aberrancy." The contributors demonstrate how definitions of disability underpin fundamental concepts such as normalcy, health, bodily integrity, individuality, citizenship, and morality--all terms that define the very essence of what it means to be human. The book provides a provocative range of topics and perspectives: the absence of physical "otherness" in Ancient Greece, the depiction of the female invalid in Victorian literature, the production of tragic innocence in British and American telethons, the reconstruction of Civil War amputees, and disability as the aesthetic basis for definitions of expendable life within the modern eugenics movement. With this new, secure anchoring in the humanities, disability studies now emerges as a significant strain in contemporary theories of identity and social marginality. Moving beyond the oversimplication that disabled people are marginalized and made invisible by able-ist assumptions and practices, the contributors demonstrate that representation is founded upon the perpetual exhibition of human anomalies. In this sense, all art can be said to migrate toward the "freakish" and the "grotesque." Such a project paradoxically makes disability the exception and the rule of the desire to represent that which has been traditionally  out-of-bounds in polite discourse.

Journal article

The Elephant Man (David Lynch, EMI Films, 1980): an analysis from a disabled perspective

Author:
DARKE Paul Anthony
Journal article citation:
Disability and Society, 9(3), 1994, pp.327-342.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis,

Uses Foucault's ideas on normalisation and medicalisation to discuss David Lynch's 'The Elephant Man' as a movie that dehumanises and objectifies its subject rather than one that represents abnormality/disability as human or valid in itself, as it is often claimed for the film.

Book

Equal rights for disabled people: the case for a new law

Authors:
BYNOE Ian, OLIVER Mike, BARNES Colin
Publisher:
Institute for Public Policy Research
Publication year:
1991
Pagination:
82p.,bibliog.
Place of publication:
London

Argues that disabled people face unfair discrimination in all areas of life, that compound their disabilities. Suggests that a new law is needed against such discrimination. Shows how current UK law condones discrimination against disabled people. Reviews current law in North America, Australia and Europe, and sets out detailed proposals for the new UK law.

Journal article

Picture this

Author:
McNAMARA Martin
Journal article citation:
Community Care, 10.9.89, 1998, p.10.
Publisher:
Reed Business Information

There are not enough images of disabled people in the media. Asks whether the use of disabled models by a style magazine is the way ahead.

Book Full text available online for free

A small matter of equality: living with restricted growth

Authors:
SHAKESPEARE Tom, WRIGHT Michael, THOMPSON Sue
Publisher:
Restricted Growth Association
Publication year:
2007
Pagination:
72p.
Place of publication:
Yeovil

Adults with restricted growth, or dwarfism, are far more disabled by social barriers and by medical problems than has previously been realised, according to this report. A team of researchers at Newcastle University, led by sociologist Dr Tom Shakespeare and geneticist Dr Michael Wright, conducted the three-year study, which was managed by the Restricted Growth Association. The study is the largest research project of its kind to have been carried out into the quality of life of adults affected by conditions that cause restricted growth. Restricted Growth affects approximately one in 10,000 births each year. Some 75 per cent of individuals born with restricted growth conditions are born to two parents of average height. One of the key findings of the study was that almost all restricted growth people suffer unwanted public attention. Some 97 per cent of respondents said they have experienced name calling, while others cited problems with abuse including mockery, and sometimes even physical violence.

Journal article

Understanding emerging disabilities

Authors:
FOX Michael H., KIM Kyung Mee
Journal article citation:
Disability and Society, 19(4), June 2004, pp.323-337.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis,

This research seeks to understand social and environmental characteristics that distinguish emerging from traditional disability populations. The authors qualitatively analysed how emerging disabilities are understood by persons with disabilities, and used these themes with a public use data source to analyse differences between emerging and traditional disabilities. Findings first illustrate the difficulty in diagnosing and categorizing emerging disabilities. This is true for both persons who have these conditions and medical personnel who are expected to interpret them. Compared with persons with traditional disabilities, persons with emerging disabilities had less education, greater difficulties with activities of daily living, lower income, less private insurance, more frequent medical care and were less likely to work. The picture emerges of that of an underclass within society. There is an ongoing need for a referral and support system with greater recognition and acceptance of all disabilities, especially within independent living centers and among employers.

Journal article

Disabling masculinity: the isolation of a captive audience

Author:
WILDE Alison
Journal article citation:
Disability and Society, 19(4), June 2004, pp.355-370.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis,

In this article, the author proposes that disabled people tend to engage with and interpret images of people with impairments in a variety of ways that have some degree of correspondence to their structural contexts and their differential access to discursive resources. Contending that gender concerns play a crucial role in the interpretative performances of both disabled and non-disabled participants, it is argued that soap operas are an alienating experience for men in general. I propose that the placement of impairment and disability narratives within the soap opera's structure, as a specific genre, is a particularly demeaning experience for disabled men. Finally, the author raises some questions about agency and resistance in such viewing practices, making specific reference to the experiences of disabled men.

Journal article

Reason's other: the emergence of the disabled subject in the Northern renaissance

Author:
STAINTON Tim
Journal article citation:
Disability and Society, 19(3), May 2004, pp.225-243.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis,

By the late fifteenth century, the debate over the role of reason and the constitution of the human subject freed public discourse from its reliance on God and placed the rational individual at the centre of social and political thought. The emphasis on rationality necessitated a parallel discourse on its opposite--'reason's Other'. In this period, representations of disabled people change in response to this new paradigm. Late medieval cultural documents, such as those of Brant and Bosch, employ folly as a metaphorical device, associated with the qualities of Everyman. However, with the rise of renaissance humanism, the benign metaphors of folly associated with the abstract everyman quickly become inscribed on the bodies of those people who would be constructed as reason's 'Other'--people with intellectual and physical disabilities--and the abstract discourse of folly is transformed into a much more direct representational association of disability with depravity. "What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! …the paragon of animals!" Hamlet II.ii

Journal article Full text available online for free

Disability and dependency: a challenge for the Social Services

Author:
WALKER Alan
Journal article citation:
Research Policy and Planning, 1(1), 1983, pp.1-7.
Publisher:
Social Services Research Group

The paper was presented originally to the SSRG Workshop on 'The Challenge of Dependency" in April 1981, the International Year of Disabled People. It was addressed partly to the issue of opportunities for action during the IYPD and therefore has been revised to take account of some subsequent changes in policy. It is argued that the deprivation and marginality of disabled people rests on social processes, rather than physical and mental disabilities. One important way in which this is legitimated is through the social construction of people with disabilities as a dependent minority. Research, it is argued, has tended to take this popular image for granted, and has concentrated on describing and measuring certain forms of dependency.

Journal article

“My body came between us” accounts of partner-abused women with physical disabilities

Author:
RICH Karen
Journal article citation:
Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 29(4), 2014, pp.418-433.
Publisher:
Sage

Women with physical disabilities are at high risk of intimate partner violence. In addition they are subject to inaccurate stereotypes, including challenges to their gender identities. Like other assaulted women, they may reframe the violence they experience in order to reduce stigmatisation. Nineteen formerly abused women with disabilities discussed their coping strategies and reasons for remaining in abusive relationships. Results were content analysed using feminist and Interactionist lenses. Respondents used neutralisation strategies common to abused women but incorporated disability-specific elements. Accounts tended to bolster a stereotypically feminine (gendered, nurturant, or sexual) identity. Policy and clinical implications are discussed. (Edited publisher abstract)

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