“Disability Theory is just the book we’ve been waiting for. Clear Tobin Siebers persuasively argues that disability studies transfigures basic. Disability Theory, Tobin Siebers (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, pages). Reviewed by Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Miami University of Ohio. Tobin Siebers’. “Disability Theoryis just the book we’ve been waiting for. Tobin Siebers in some of the major debates of the last thirty years in critical and cultural theory.

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Siebers wants to revitalize the concept of minority discourse, not as an argument for more balkanized subjectivities black, woman, gay, lesbian, etc. Disability Theory Tobin Siebers No preview available – Contact Contact Us Help.

For the first case, he provides an important historical survey of how identity politics rose to influence during the s and s, and then fell from favor wiebers to the rise of social constructionist theories.

Siebers addresses the questions of how disability theory and other forms of critical theory can challenge and inform one another, how disability theory can move past the poststructuralist sieberss that all experience is simply a linguistic construct and give voice to the embodied experience of disability, and how identity politics can move the disability rights movement forward in thfory struggle for universal access. The ever-present fact of the fragility of human life is one that our culture turns from in its zeal to celebrate strength, youth, and able-bodiedness.

Passionate, respectful debate is always welcome.

As Siebers puts it so eloquently:. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Unlike social constructionists, they believe that social reality, once made, takes on a shape, politics and history that belong to the realm of human action, and as part of human action, it is available for rational analysis and political transformation.

Tobin Siebers, Disability Theory | Davidson | Disability Studies Quarterly

If we recognize the fragility of human life as a common inheritance, then disability becomes central to human life, and not its tragic flaw. The strength of social constructionism lies in its dual understanding that we cannot view bodies outside of culture, and that this insight, in and of itself, is liberating.


And that’s all to the good. Our society, he notes, represents ability as a generalized human trait; in fact, ability is one of the markers of humanity Siebers I have a very simple and intuitive comments policy: All human beings must cooperate in such activities as buying and selling goods, constructing buildings, growing food, and raising children.

Such a representation helps to create an environment in which disabled people are easily victimized:. Disability in Twentieth-Century German Culture. How do we overturn the medicalized representation of disability that portrays impairment as a purely individual matter of physical functioning?

In a particularly stunning section of the book, Siebers himself literally brings home his analysis by determining the nature of the social body that is welcome in his own house. Siebers is particularly good on the problem of “passing” in which the person with a disability must negotiate the door to the medical closet, opening it enough to expose one’s disability to a skeptical able-bodied public or else closing the door in order not to offend anyone.

Volume 1 through Volume 20, no.

Disability Theory

After all, if disability is not a part of shared humanity, then it places human beings with disabilities outside of siwbers collective of humanity. About Welcome to disaiblity blog! Reviewed by Michael Davidson. How do we mend that rift? My library Help Advanced Book Search. He makes good use of Eve Sedgewick’s Epistemology of the Closet to show the multi-valent meaning of “coming-out” or becoming visible as a disabled person in which the ability to pass is complicated by the phenomenon of invisible disabilities deafness, chronic illness, certain cognitive and neurological impairments, etc.

Demeaning language, dismissive comments, and other forms of disrespect are not. Pattern by Riva Lehrer, acrylic siebbers panel, 18″ X 24″, His most controversial claim, in this regard, will be the idea that persons with disabilities are a “sexual minority,” in the terms advanced by Jeffrey Weeks and others.

This book has two audiences as its focus: On behalf of which social body has a space been disagility accessible? Then, he argues for a paradigm that addresses itself not to individual human bodies, but to the shape, form, and function of the archetypal body for whom our culture is constructed — the body that is welcome in public spaces, disanility body that has the right to consensual sexual activity, the body that signifies human worth.


U of Michigan P, Copyright and Terms of Use Disability and Representation: In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Siebers criticizes the ways that Michel Foucault’s theory of the docile body and bio-power have been used as an all-purpose definition theoryy how persons with disability are medicalized.

The book uses such examples sparingly but to good effect, including personal anecdotes that position the author as someone who knows from experience. Tobin Siebers persuasively argues that disability studies transfigures basic assumptions about identity, ideology, language, politics, social oppression, and the body. University of Michigan Press, Moreover, a disability identity is not about embracing suffering, but about understanding, analyzing, and critiquing the social structures that cause it Siebers Boldly rethinks theoretical questions of the last thirty years from the vantage point of disability studies.

But as Siebers points out, the social model, by focusing on the social meanings of disability tends to dismiss the body as a kind of empty code of signifiers. This blog does not allow anonymous comments.

Disability Theory

He concludes that the only way to ensure human rights for disabled people is to represent disability not as an individual calamity, but as the common inheritance of all human beings whose bodies are frail and vulnerable, tobib who depend upon one another, throughout their lives, for protection and support. One of the most important things about this book is its discussion of the relations between sexuality and disability.

I can attest to the power of this way of approaching constructed spaces.