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张在新

John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

日志

 
 

Disability  

2010-03-18 18:51:18|  分类: 残障 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Goggin, Gerard and Christopher Newell. Digital Disability: The Social Construction of Disability in New Media. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

 20

       “Finkelstein posits an imaginary society where a thousand or so people, all of whom are wheelchair users, settle in a village and organize a social system to suit themselves, with its own design and building codes. At some stage a few able-bodied people come to live in the village, but they don’t fit in. They are constantly knocking their heads on door lintels, and require constant medical intervention and control. Special aids have to be designed for the so-called able-bodied, now the disabled members of the village. They are given free helmets to protect their heads, and they have difficulty obtaining work because of their deviation from the norm; as a result, they become objects of charity. ‘In such an imaginary society,’ Finkelstein writes, ‘it would be possible for physically impaired people to be the able-bodied!’”

       [Finkelstein, Vic. “To Deny or Not to Deny Disability.” A. Brechin, P. Liddiard, and J. Swain, eds.  Handicap in a Social World. Kent: Hodder and Stoughton, 1981. 34-6.]

 

Finkelstein, Vic. “Emancipating Disability Studies.” Tom Shakespeare, ed. The Disability Reader: Social Science Perspectives. London: Continuum, 1998. 28-52.

28

       Human beings are, by nature, frail animals. We are outpaced in speed by herds of runners hunting or being hunted, at the best of times our eyesight cannot match the eagle-eye of a bird on watch, we are deaf to the sounds animals on the hoof can hear in the open plains of Africa, and compared to the fine senses of a dog sniffing for contraband drugs we could be just as well permanently without a sense of smell. However, in comprehending and dealing with this reality we have been remarkably successful. With our ‘aids and equipment’ we can see both further into space with telescopes and inwardly into matter with microscopes beyond the capacity of all seeing animals. Our machines enable us to move faster and further in the air than any others and our ability to manipulate the environment is creating an artificial world not only for ourselves but also for all living things, including those with superior physical prowess to ourselves.”

       At the centre of this achievement has been our ability to turn ‘vulnerability’ into a strength. Put simply, our ‘natural frailty has served as an incentive to cultivate extreme flexibility in interpreting ourselves and the world in which we live. We have acquired an accumulated body of knowledge which has enabled us to transform the ‘natural’ environment into a ‘social’ world of our own making. This singular ‘adaptability’ is a truly fundamental attribute of being ‘human’ and the point of departure between the natural and social worlds. It is arguable, however, that precisely because our capacity for ‘flexible thinking’ has been so successful we have lost sight of the emergent rigidity in the categories into which the social reservoir of knowledge has been assigned.”

Corker, Mairian and Tom Shakespeare. Embodying Disability Theory. London: Continuum, 2002.

Young, Iris Marian. “Foreword.” xii-xiv.

xii

       The social model of disability challenges a medical model of individualized attributes and functionings: “As I understand it, this social model denies that any particular attributes or functionings of individual bodies should be thought to constitute a ‘problem’ or ‘disadvantage’ apart from the social environment within which the individuals live. This social environment has both material-physical and symbolic-interactive dimensions. Moving on wheels is a ‘disadvantage’ only in a world full of stairs. Because many people expect to make ‘eye contact’ with people they talk to, as a sign of respect and engagement, some of them dislike or even fear persons whom they do not experience as making such contact. The social model of disability notices many such attributes of environments and relations among persons, and the project it has generated would systematically describe the structures and processes of such social environments as they construct some people as [xiii] ‘normal’ and others as ‘deviant’, giving many advantages to the former (Silvers et all., 1998). [Silvers, A., Wasserman, D. and Mahowald, M. B. Disability Difference, Discrimination: Perspectives on Justice in Bioethics and Public Policy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.]

xiii

       The social model of disability has enormous critical power because it shifts attention on issues of justice for people with disabilities from the ‘needs’ of people with disabilities to others who assume that a certain background of structures and practices is given. Such a shift in perspective has had some practical import in public policy, where a principle that employers and institutions should change their spaces and practices to enable a broader diversity of individuals to participate in this has received a certain measure of legal recognition. Those given responsibilities under such principles, of course, have many ways of denying and avoiding them. After the social model of disability has been articulated, however, it becomes difficult to revert to a world that describes some people as simply and unfortunately having ‘special needs’.

       These essays collected by Mairian Corker and Tom Shakespeare mark another step in the radicalization of theory and practice regarding persons socially positioned as ‘disabled’. While the social model of disability destabilizes the assumption that the ‘problem’ with some people has to do with attributes of their bodies and functions, it nevertheless continues to presume a certain fixity to these bodies, and thereby understands many of the experiences and self-conceptions of persons positioned as disabled as grounded in such bodily facts. Following some of the moves of recent feminist and queer theories, these essays variously destabilize the image of given bodies inserted in valuable and changeable social contexts implicit in the social model of disability. Experiences of moving, perceiving, interacting with others, manipulating tools, thinking through problems and expressing oneself are all conditioned and constituted by social structures of constraint and enablement, as well as by forms of the representation of persons, as both ‘normal’ and ‘deviant’. The subject of disability herself is constituted as varying and culturally conditioned lived body.”

Corker, Mairian and Tom Shakespeare. “Mapping the Terrain.” 1-17.

3

       “Post-structuralism provides a different view of the subject, arguing that the subjects are not the autonomous creators of themselves or their social worlds. Rather, subjects are embedded in a complex network of social relations. These relations in turn determine which subjects can appear, where and in what capacity. The subject is not something prior to politics or social structures, but is constituted in and through specific socio-political arrangements. In this sense, in some of its interpretations, the social model can appear to be an example of post-structuralist theory. However, to make sense of the ways in which subjects are at once revealed and concealed, post-structuralism contends that modernism’s focus on the individual as an autonomous agent needs to be deconstructed, contested and troubled. This makes for a tension-ridden relationship with versions of the social model that see only ‘society’, or which stress the agency of disabled people in achieving their own liberation.”

7

       “Foucault argues [in the History of Sexuality] that the sexual subject is not the natural origin of sexual truths but that discourses on sexuality (for example, sexology and psychiatry) help produce dominant and subjugated sexual subjects. He then explores the new ways of life and the ‘techniques’, such as reading and writing, through which individuals take care of the self and strive to reconstitute themselves as privileged, suggesting ways in which we might better understand the [8] relationship between private life and broader culture. A Foucauldian perspective on disability might argue, then, that a proliferation of discourses on impairment gave rise to the category ‘disability’. Though these discourses were originally scientific and medical classificatory devices, they subsequently gained currency in judicial and psychiatric fields of knowledge. ‘Disabled’ people did not exist before this classification although impairment and impairment-related practices certainly did. Thus Foucault shows us that social identities are effects of the ways in which knowledge is organized, but his work is also significant for its explication of the links between knowledge and power. In his post-structuralist account of power in modern societies, Foucault uses the term biopower to refer to the radically modern form of power, which made knowledge/power an agent of transformation of human life. Modern power is thus not ‘sovereign’, a result of coercion from outside, but ‘disciplinary’ because of the ritualized and institutionalized action of the techniques of power and their normalizing effect on modern life. Although Foucault views all forms of power as entailing resistance, biopower lends itself to a bleak version of modern social life as an ‘iron cage’.”

15

       “We believe that existing theories of disability – both radical and mainstream – are no longer adequate. Both the medical model and the social model seek to explain disability universally, and end up creating totalizing, meta-historical narratives that exclude important dimensions of disabled people’s lives and of their knowledge. The global experience of disabled people is too complex to be rendered within one unitary model or set of ideas. Considering the range of impairments under the disability umbrella; considering the different ways in which they impact on individuals and groups over their lifetime; considering the intersection of disability with other axes of inequality; and considering the challenge which impairment issues to notions of embodiment, we believe it could be argued that disability is the ultimate postmodern concept.”

 

Also see Davis, Lennard J. From "Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body." Visualizing the Disabled Body: The Classical Nude and the Fragmented Torso (1995). The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: Norton, 2001. 2400--2421.


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