I struggle with what appears to be a polarized perspective. While for the
majority of my life I would fall within the narratives of those defined
as abled, my reality as a person from an invisible minority provides me
with a point of political, social and economic context that is not
unlike that experienced by people with disabilities. As such, as a
researcher I have developed a critical lens rooted in an experience of
marginalization. One aligned with survival within a system of
legislative and medically oriented themes focused on breeding out the
characteristics of identity that are uniquely percieved or defined
within my community. While my lived experiences are not rooted in an
embodied framing of disablity, my identity as other is no less
characterized by the same process of positivist researchers taking
knowledge and a deep distrust of the researcher community.
have and continue to struggle with where my perspective and legitimacy
play out in this area and this is made more problematic as these
questions are asked. Please do not take this as a dismissal of the
question only acknowledgement of the need for this type of
questioning. What is really being asked is who speaks and for whom can
they speak? If we are unable to speak to the issues of each other are
we not just isolating ourselves? Perhaps it is in linking across our
experiences and our contexts of marginalization that as a abled
researcher my work and the work of disabled researchers can strenghthen
the challenging of the science that underpins the medical model. Part
of knowing is being able to write and research and be challenged on
it. If the writing is challenged before it ever starts how can we hope
to educate those who attempt to define us?
> Date: Sat, 18 Jul 2009 16:27:53 -0400
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: The question of being able-bodied and doing work in the field of disabili...
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Hi everyone!
> Thanks, Larry, for raising this. "Able-bodied" has been bothering me
> since the original question was posed, and I'm kind of surprised no one else
> challenged it. "Able-bodied" retains the medical model assumption that
> 'disability' resides in the body rather than in society. I fear for DS's
> future if we don't come to understand this basic premise. Not only that,
> "able-bodied" also assumes impairment renders the disabled or 'impaired' body
> rather useless. Even though I am blind my body is able to do most everything
> else I want it to do. Even so, society continues to disable me. The concept
> of able-bodiedness also excludes cognitive and sensory features of the
> lived experience of embodiment and probably more than what is coming to my
> mind at the moment. I am also troubled by the continued use of 'disability'
> and 'impairment' interchangeably. And I disagree with and am offended by
> the assertion that everyone has "disabilities."
> Re: the content of the question -- I think whether it is appropriate for
> nondisabled researchers to do disabilitly research depends on their intent,
> their theoretical approaches, their research models, etc. I think it's
> important for disability researchers who consider themselves nondisabled to
> state this throughout the project, including in the write-up.
> At various times during my doctoral research, each and all the participants
> mentioned they would not have responded to my call for blind participants
> had I not stated I am blind because they were not willing to be used once
> again by sighted researchers.
> Best wishes,
> In a message dated 7/18/2009 9:06:06 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
> [log in to unmask] writes:
> Apart from anything else in this debate, being "able bodied" is not the
> binary polar opposite of "being disabled"
> **************Snoop, Lil Wayne, Lady GaGa -- land the tix you need for this
> summer's biggest tours. Tourtracker.com
> ________________End of message________________
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