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2004 Conference Archive
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SuperCrip strikes again: Or mine-body dualism

Kelly Fritsch, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Full paper (pdf)


While seemingly natural, disability and impairment are socially constructed, that is to say, they are produced through discipline. Disability becomes the primary basis of identification, one which mutes other characteristics. Foucault's genealogical critique looks at the politics of identification as the cause of identity categories. These categories are, in fact, part of the social sphere and are effects of institutions, practices, discourses. Much of disability theory does not take into account the construction of both disability and impairment and instead looks only at disability as a social construction. This is a weakness in the theory and it is necessary to show the co-dependence of the two and the way in which they rely on one another. An exploration of how disability and impairment are constructed through specific mechanisms will provide a basis for discussing ways to challenge these established norms. The construction of disability is such that its consequences saturate social relations. It interacts with race, gender, sexuality and the economy in a myriad of ways, and any powerful analysis will be neither simple nor easy. Such an effort, no matter how large, cannot be considered in vain, since disability and its construction are central to our experience and integral to the matrix of power that defines our existence and relations. The social determination implies the relatedness of concepts such as the body, the normal, and disability.

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