Disability as diversity:a difference with a difference

G. Thomas Couser


Disability is a fundamental facet of human diversity, yet it lags behind
race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and class in recognition inside
and outside the academy. Disability has its own history (or histories) and
culture(s) which deserve to be studied in their own right. Disability Studies
is not limited to the study of disabled people as a distinct population,
however; rather, it involves the comprehensive investigation of disability as a cultural construct that undergirds social practices and cultural representations.
As contemporary Disability Studies scholars view it, then,
disability is a significant and powerful cultural category; like race and gender, disability is a cultural construct that assigns traits to individuals— and discriminates among them—on the basis of bodily differences.
Today, disabled people, long vulnerable to prejudicial representation in high and low culture, are challenging conventional assumptions by representing
themselves in memoir and autobiography.


disability; diversity; Disability Studies; impairment; narrative;

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5007/%25x

Copyright (c) 2005 G. Thomas Couser

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