“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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As a professor specializing in disability studies in the ddisability of Arts and Design and English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, Siebers concerns himself, first and foremost, with the question of why disabled people are oppressed in our culture. 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 theoryy 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 And that’s all to the good.
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 tonin sexuality, disability and democracythey’re all tehory, in beautifully crafted and intellectually startling essays.
He is also critical of Judith Butler who, despite her important critique of constructionism as being inadequate to material bodies, nevertheless tends to treat “abject bodies” and by extension disabled bodies as lacking authentic subjecthood.
He is highly critical of adapting the identitarian position that reduces all persons with disabilities siebrrs a single class, but he also feels that without some sense of collective identity, claiming rights under federal and state protections will be difficult. Siebers’ remarks on sexual surrogacy, architecture, and sexual pleasure are very important, especially given the powerful role of sexuality in cultural theory in which disability seldom makes an appearance.
Our lives depend upon such interdependence.
Tobin Siebers persuasively argues that disability studies transfigures basic assumptions about identity, ideology, language, politics, social oppression, and the body.
Tobin Siebers’ essays have been at the forefront of this critique, seibers this book gathers them together in what is one the most important contributions to disability studies since Lennard Davis’ Enforcing Normalcy.
To find out more, please visit http: How do we mend that rift? Once we represent disability as a common human experience, it becomes much more difficult to justify withholding rights because of physical difference. These are social facts readable in the blueprint of my house. Language and Communication Disability Terminology: Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
Siebers uses his own house as an example of the limits of “universal design” in addressing the needs of various kinds of disabled persons — himself included. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Social constructions have a constant impact on the lives of human beings — an impact that we can analyze, work with or against, and change. 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.
Siebers has written a powerful manifesto that calls theory to account and forces readers to think beyond our comfort zones. Tobin Siebers persuasively argues that disability studies transfigures basic assumptions about identity, ideology, language, politics, disabiliity oppression, and the body. Volume 1 through Volume 20, no.
Underpinning all of these issues are tobun basic questions: This is a book with a clear agenda: As for social construction, Xisability recognizes that although experience is constructed through social attitudes and prejudices, the identities produced within such conditions are “real” and valid for purposes of public policy, community formation, and jurisprudence. Because the mirror into which she looks is turned away from us, the artist sees something different from what we, as viewers, see.
For the first case, he provides an important historical survey of how identity politics rose to influence during the s and s, and then fell from favor due to the rise of social constructionist theories. Disability Theory rescues the historic body of disability from its diaspora into theories that isebers bodily difference without subjects attached. Thus, when disabled people rely upon others for care or assistance, it is considered a loss of dignity and a source of shame.
As Siebers puts it so eloquently:. U of Michigan P, Siebers is particularly good on the problem of “passing” in which the person with a disability must negotiate the door to the disabjlity closet, opening it enough to expose one’s disability to a skeptical able-bodied public or else closing the door tneory order not to offend anyone. He understands that sexuality sieber 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.
One way that he provides texture to his theoretical excursions is by introducing what he calls “dossiers” into his text at various points to thheory and provide illustration for what he is saying at a local level. If you want your comment published, focus on speaking to the issue at hand.
Thus, rather than allowing ourselves to think in terms of inclusion and exclusion, a dichotomy that always presupposes a group in the center holding power over a group in the margins, Siebers suggests thinking in terms of accessibility and inaccessibility Siebers His discussion of disability “sexual culture” will broaden our knowledge of these matters.
Disability and Representation Changing the Cultural Conversation. Tobin Siebers is V. He notes that in Foucault’s distinction between the pre-modern soldier and the modern “docile” soldier, there lies an ableist ideology that prefers the former as a default. This counter-argument owes a good deal to the work of Paula Moya and Satya Mohanty whose theories of realism provide an important framework for negotiating between social constructionist claims and lived reality.
In this, I am seibers unique. 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 In his book Disability Theory, Tobin Siebers raises a number of issues critical to disability studies. It will also broaden the meaning of “access” to include accessibility to spaces and persons, sites of pleasure and erotic practices that are dosability included in discussions of universal design.