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The odd, different and disruptive: Towards a productive psychology and critical disability studies

Danny Goodley, Manchester Metropolitan University


Psychology has relied upon the odd, different and disruptive in order to become the popular profession that it is today. 'Odd' often equates with 'the pathological' in psychology and, over many years, psychologists have serviced society's need to understand, treat and in some cases eradicate these 'ills'. Psychologists have also helped to create a contemporary self-help culture in which people spend more and more time governing their own differences. Disruptive people are increasingly expected to manage themselves. But what alternatives can be offered? How can we promote ways of understanding that embrace the disruptive? In what ways can 'odd' transform our understandings of diversity in everyday life? How can differences be celebrated and used in positive ways? In what ways is 'odd' a helpful metaphor, ontology and practice for non/disabled people? This lecture will address these questions through reference to stories, theories, actions and ideas. A case will be made for the development of a productive psychology: which is of use to transformative potential of critical disability studies.

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