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(2012) Disability and social theory, Dordrecht, Springer.

Stalking ableism

using disability to expose "abled" narcissism

Fiona Kumari Campbell

pp. 212-230

One may wonder what museums and classification systems have in common. They share a feature of working with the systematisation and reification of relics and objects. For too long there has been an almost indecent preoccupation with measuring and quantifying the existence of disabled people with the grand and commendable objective to know "us' more. Despite these obsessions with disability, the sociocultural relations of impairment and disabled people have remained an afterthought in civic consciousness and at best peripheral in sociologies of the body. The aberrant, the anomalous, the monster or the disabled have formed "the background noise, as it were, the endless murmur of nature', where disability is nonetheless always present in its absence (Foucault, 1970: 155). An act of speaking otherwise, this chapter shifts to a focus on abled(ness) to think about the production of ableism. We all live and breathe ableist logic, our bodies and minds daily become aesthetic sculptures for the projection of how we wish to be known in our attempt to exercise competency, sexiness, wholeness and an atomistic existence. It is harder to find the language and space to examine the implications of a failure to meet the standard or any ambivalence we might have about the grounds of the perfectibility project. This chapter first will outline an approach to expressing ableism (its theoretical features and character) and secondly it will provide an example of how ableism works globally in the knowledge production of disability. Finally I will discuss the possibility of disabled people turning their backs on emulating abledness as a strategy for disengagement both ontological and theoretical.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9781137023001_13

Full citation:

Kumari Campbell, F. (2012)., Stalking ableism: using disability to expose "abled" narcissism, in D. Goodley, B. Hughes & L. Davis (eds.), Disability and social theory, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 212-230.

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