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Disability studies and phenomenology: the carnal politics of everyday life

Paterson, K., and Hughes, B. (1999) Disability studies and phenomenology: the carnal politics of everyday life. Disability and Society, 14 (5). pp. 597-610. ISSN 0968-7599 (doi:10.1080/09687599925966)

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Abstract

This paper is an attempt to develop a sociology of impairment and to theorise embodiment in the lebenswelt. Disability studies has failed to address adequately the fundamental issue of bodily agency. The impaired body is represented as a passive recipient of social forces. Such a conception of the body is losing ground within social theory. This paper attempts to overcome disability studies' disembodied view of disability by utilising a phenomenological concept of embodiment. Phenomenology offers the opportunity to transcend the traditional Cartesian dualisms which posit the body as a passive precultural object. However, such a view, when extended to impairment is empty of political content since phenomenological analyses have relied upon medicalised and individualised understandings of disability. In order to counter the disablism evident in phenomenology on the one side and disability studies' disembodied view of disability on the other, we argue for a radical phenomenological approach to the (impaired) body. To demonstrate the vitality of such an approach, we also attempt to deploy Leders' (1990) concept of dys-appearance as a means of analysing the carnal politics of everyday life.

Item Type:Article
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s):Paterson, Dr Kevin
Authors: Paterson, K., and Hughes, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Disability and Society
ISSN:0968-7599
ISSN (Online):1360-0508
Published Online:1 July 2010

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