“Disability Theory is just the book we’ve been waiting for. Clear Tobin Siebers persuasively argues that disability studies transfigures basic. Disability Theory, Tobin Siebers (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, pages). Reviewed by Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Miami University of Ohio. Tobin Siebers’. “Disability Theoryis just the book we’ve been waiting for. Tobin Siebers in some of the major debates of the last thirty years in critical and cultural theory.

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Such a representation helps to create an environment in which disabled people are easily victimized:. In this, I am not unique. How do we mend that rift? If you want your comment published, focus on speaking to the issue at hand.

Does the fact that our culture views disability gobin a feature of individuals work against seeing disability and humanity as synonymous?

Tobin Siebers, Disability Theory | Davidson | Disability Studies Quarterly

This position offers Siebers a chance to attend to complex embodiment in specific cases Deaf persons differ fundamentally from people in wheelchairs in their attitudes about disability; people with chronic illness differ from people with spinal injuries, etc. Accessed October 14, He makes good use of Eve Sedgewick’s Epistemology of the Closet to show the multi-valent meaning of “coming-out” or becoming visible as a disabled person in which the ability to pass is complicated by the phenomenon of invisible disabilities deafness, chronic illness, certain cognitive and neurological impairments, etc.

By looking at the body in this way, Siebers notes, one can easily see the lines of inclusion and exclusion drawn by the architects of architectural and social locations Siebers What’s Wrong with This Picture?

In construing identity as social theory, Siebers moves beyond strong social constructionism into philosophical realism in a way that is very promising for both academic theory and on-the-ground activism. The book uses such examples sparingly but to good effect, including personal anecdotes that position the author as someone who knows from experience.

Visit the author’s website at: A volume in the series Corporealities: All human beings must cooperate in such activities as buying and selling goods, constructing buildings, growing food, and raising children.

Siebers has written a powerful manifesto that calls theory to account and forces readers to think beyond our comfort zones.


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A Literature Review Destigmatizing Representation: Siebers wants to explode such ideas and explore why they are so pervasive. This is a book with a clear agenda: While Siebers does not specifically address the characterization of autism as an empathy disorder, he points out that the psychological literature is rife with the idea that disability and suffering nearly always considered synonymous render disabled people narcissistic; because of their impairments, the literature alleges, disabled people are self-absorbed, trapped in a world of their own, uninterested in anyone else, and unable to love Siebers Cherney On Communication and Double Standards: University of Michigan Press, It will be controversial in a number of areas and will probably ruffle feathers both in disability studies as well as in realms of cultural theory.

Disability Theory

Foucault and Feminist Philosophy of Disability. Copyright and Terms of Use Disability and Representation: It is targeted toward readers already well versed in disability studies and critical theory, and its complex discussions of very particular aspects of disability experience operate at the highest theoretical levels.

Crip Culture Talks Back. In other words, it is possible to adopt a social constructionist theory of experience for disabled people while respecting the legal claims based on this experience. Coleman Brown Looking into Language: Siebers’ primary purpose in this book is twofold: Narcissism, much like the autism, becomes an expression of a pathologized individualism.

On behalf of which social body has a space been made accessible? He is highly critical of adapting the identitarian position that reduces all persons with disabilities to a single class, but he also feels that without some sense of collective identity, claiming rights under federal and state protections will be difficult.

Strong social constructionism, according to Siebers, poses social identity as a construct, but tends to see it as a linguistic representation first and foremost, not as a mode of political analysis and activism Siebers To find out more, please visit http: He understands that sexuality does not define disability but that disability “defamiliarizes” attitudes towards sexuality in significant ways, expanding our notions of what sexual activity accommodates and what it does to break down barriers between privacy and public life.

Clear, cogent, compelling analyses of the tension between the ‘social model’ of disability and the material details of impairment; of identity politics and unstable identities; of capability rights and human interdependence; of disability and law, disability as masquerade, disability and sexuality, disability and democracythey’re all here, in beautifully crafted and intellectually startling essays.


Underpinning all of these issues are two basic questions: This book has two audiences as its focus: Works such as Lennard Davis’s Bending over BackwardsRobert McRuer’s Crip TheoryDavid Mitchell and Sharon Snyder’s Cultural Locations of Disability and several essays in Lennard Davis’ revised Disability Studies Reader have criticized the medical model — the idea that disability rests in a physical or cognitive impairment — but have also questioned whether or not the social model doesn’t throw out the lived body with the social constructionist bathwater.

Disability Theory is a field-defining book: If we recognize the fragility of human life as a common inheritance, then disability becomes central to human life, and not its tragic flaw. It will also broaden the meaning of “access” to include accessibility to spaces and persons, sites of pleasure and erotic practices that are seldom included in discussions of universal design.

The social theory inherent in disability identity, Siebers believes, can lead disabled people to realize that their personal suffering is shared and to join together to create safety, community, and justice Siebers The strength of social constructionism lies in its dual understanding that we cannot view bodies outside of culture, and that this insight, in and of itself, is liberating. Reviewed by Siebeds Davidson.

Siebers’ remarks on sexual surrogacy, architecture, disxbility sexual pleasure are very important, especially given the powerful role of sexuality in cultural theory in which disability seldom makes an appearance. And that’s all to the good.

And that’s all to the good. The ever-present fact of the fragility of human life is one that our culture turns from in its zeal to celebrate strength, youth, and able-bodiedness. First, he addresses the issue of how to redefine disability identity not as the property of an individual, but as a form of social theory that represents the social and political experience of disabled people.

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