cripelectric: river tam from the shoulders up, on the right hand-side of the picture and the words  also i can kill you with my brain (Default)
[personal profile] cripelectric
Critical disability studies takes seriously the notion that disability can be used as a heuristic tool, as a methodological process and as a theoretical framework.

Critical disability studies understands disability as a social process, or rather a set of social practices, that disadvantages people with non-normative bodies and experiences, linked to either their impairments or their perceived impairments.

In critical disability studies, there is a basic, although not uncontested, differentiation between 'impairment' and disability, not unlike the difference made between gender and sex in gender studies.
'Impairment' is defined and understood as the physical and/or physiological, and/or emotional, and or intellectual variation from the norm that some people live with, what is often called a 'disability'.
'Disability' is the process by which that impairment is stigmatized, and how people with that impairment are hindered from flourishing, and disadvantaged by it.


Critical disability studies is also, by definition and in practice, an interdisciplinary field of studies, which can include what could seem unrelated disciplines, such as philosophy, sociology, anthropology, literature, geography, environmental studies, critical race studies, gender studies, law, political science, fine arts, communication studies, education, and so forth. As a general rule, disability scholars are extremely wary of positivist disciplines such as psychology, medicine, nursing, and biology. There is also a high level of suspicion towards management and business-related fields and endeavor.
There are a number of good reason to that, first and foremost, the reduction of disabled people's lives and experiences to their ipairment by so-called health disciplines, and the tendency to try and limit contributions by disabled people, current or future, to a monetary equation. Questions centering on how much disabled people 'cost' society in social resources usually both ignore how we contribute to society, as well as leaving unexamined how much non-disabled people cost society in turn.

I will no doubt say more at a later time on the neo-liberal tendency to equate all lives to a money-value.

There are many areas of political and social life that critical disability studies can impact for the better; it can affect governmental policies , improving them and disabled people's lives. It can dispell stereotypes about disability, it can combat discrimination against disabled people, and it can give a voice to both.

My interests as a critical disability scholar are in culture and disability, and how it relates to the possibility of political and social agency for disabled people. I have a strong suspicion that there exists a link, if not many, between cultural representation and political agency. This suspicion goes something like this:

whether or not a certain group of persons are represented in the wider culture is linked to how much clout they have to make political claims.

How a certain group is represented makes a difference in how they can make those claim, or whether they can make them at all.

This addresses a few complicated issues I have in considering disability representations in the media and cultural productions; disability can be said to be prevalent in both the media and cultural production, but how it is represented is seldom representative of disability as it is experienced by disabled people, and it is most often depoliticized and reduced to an individual occurence. But, disabled people, as well as non-disabled people don't live their lives solely as individuals. We live our lives as individuals that aremembers of different groups, and that are embedded in a social world, one that is geographically, culturally and historically specific.

A further complication for me,is how I perceive that people, whatever the means by which society attempts to reduce their lives to one or two characteristics, do things that resist and challenge those attempts as legitimate.
Which brings me to participatory culture. Participatory culture is a concept that, as far as I know, and I don't have a quote handy (will include the proper reference later) was elaborated by Henry Jenkins, a media scholar, and the first to take a serious look at fans, fandom and fan consumers/producers.In short participatory culture is when fans use an existing cultural production, such as a tv show, a movie, a book, a video game etc... and, using the same characters, story lines and world, and create their own work of art. This can be in the form of vids, fan art, and fanfiction. You're not just consuming culture when you do that you're producing it, and in many cases, you're re-signifying t, you're subverting it.
A few other facts about fanfiction, and why I think it's significant as a form of resistance and as a social phenomenon:

fanfiction is huge. like HUGE huge.We're talking global, we're talking cross-cultural, and virtual.

It's a mostly internet phenomenon, and people are interacting with each other, sharing their stories, editng and commenting on each other's stories, and creating communities about their fanfiction and the fandoms they are a part of.

It's anti-capitalist- or is that non-capitalist?- and anti-corporate. People write fanfiction because they want to, not because they get paid to do it. People read fanfiction for free. Now,that, is radical culture-making, it's resistance.

Fanfiction is a way for people to explore a number of issues they have to deal with, as we all do, like gender, sexuality, relationships, trauma, and disability.

There's something I've been seeing online that seem to be developing, and its called 'disability fics', which are stories where one or more main characters have a disability, and the disability is central to the story.

And I want to know why people write those fics, how they write it, what they think and feel about them, and how the view/think/feel about disability, and fanfiction, and all the relationships these things have to one another.

And that what this journal is for, 'disability fics, disability, fanfiction, society, people, fanfic writers, and how all those should be significant in critical disability studies.

Hey!

Date: 2012-01-17 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chand_delier
Whew, I finally got an account!
Interesting topic Cat, I've also noticed these disability fics and most of them seem to be frame the character as a victim or an avenger. And I think both are problematic in their portrayal of disability as objects of charity and pity, or justifications of retribution/reason for retribution. I think that even if these sentiments are "merely" fantasies, they do provide snapshots of a type of mindset that deems them as "possibilities," and it makes me wonder about the effects of our research as disability scholars in areas outside of the academy or legalities.
I'd like to see what your research can turn up about that Cat, keep updating pls!

Fiona

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cripelectric: river tam from the shoulders up, on the right hand-side of the picture and the words  also i can kill you with my brain (Default)
cripelectric

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