“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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If a constituency is perceived to define rights claims for “special accommodation” around individual medical conditions, then that group could be said to be self-serving and narcissistic — hardly the best climate in which to mount a social movement. The distorted perceptions of others, combined with a distorted theroy of the self, create the cultural representation of a disabled person who is always an individual, alone and apart.

It will be controversial in a number of areas and will probably ruffle feathers both in disability studies as well as in realms of cultural theory. Tobin Siebers, Disability Theory.

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

As for social construction, Siebers recognizes that although experience is constructed through social attitudes and prejudices, the identities produced within such conditions are “real” and valid for purposes of public policy, community formation, and jurisprudence. Siebers adapts their views to show that yes, disability exists as a set of social constructions but once that reality is made it takes on a “shape, politics, and history that belongs to the realm of human action” This blog does not allow anonymous comments.

This book has two audiences as its focus: Once we represent disability as a common human experience, it becomes much more difficult to justify withholding rights because of physical difference.

Tobin Siebers’ essays have been at the forefront of this critique, and this book gathers them together in what is one the most important contributions to disability studies since Lennard Davis’ Enforcing Normalcy. It is a yobin commentary on the category of mimesis with the artist drawing the body society desires on the disabled body society refuses to see, using tjeory cosmetic tool that distinguishes, as we have heard recently, soccer moms from pit bulls.


Tobin Siebers, Disability Theory | Davidson | Disability Studies Quarterly

How do we mend that rift? Siebers’ primary purpose in this book is twofold: Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Some bodies are included, and others excluded — not by nature, but by design. Such a representation helps to create an environment in which disabled people are easily victimized:.

Discourses Of Disability Corporealities: Clear, cogent, compelling analyses of the tension between the ‘social model’ of disability and the material details of impairment; of identity politics and unstable identities; of capability rights and human interdependence; of disability and law, disability as masquerade, disability and sexuality, disability and democracy—they’re all here, in beautifully crafted and intellectually startling essays.

The latter are a few of the examples that Siebers uses to show the complex nature of disability and the inadequacy of a one-size-fits-all definition of the term.

Boldly rethinks theoretical questions of the last thirty years from the vantage point of disability studies. When leaving a comment, you must specify a valid email address, which will remain private.

Disability Theory

This is a book with a clear agenda: He notes that in Foucault’s distinction between the pre-modern soldier and the modern “docile” soldier, there lies an ableist ideology that siebera the former as a default. It is an appropriate image for Tobin Siebers’ book, concerned as it is with the way that narratives of bodily normalcy are imprinted on the bodies of disabled people and particularly the way that the bodily difference is gendered.

What we do see is the complex act of self-mirroring that occurs between the natural body the artist is lying sur l’herbe after all through its multiple manifestations as subject and object, woman as artist and woman as object of gaze, and, finally, disabled subject as creator of her own view of herself.

Narcissism, much like the autism, becomes an expression of a pathologized individualism.

Nimble six-footers, with an intuitive sense of dark spaces, acute hearing, and a love of staircases do. Speaking of Butler, Siebers notes that she claims “society uses pain of guilt to produce conformity with the heterosexual body” but that in her work, pain is rarely physical and more likely something like “pain of guilt or social repression.


After observing such indicators as the width of the doorways, the number and locations of staircases, the heights of cabinets, and the placement of doorknobs and light switches Siebers, he concludes siebesr the social body for whom his house was designed is limited disabillity. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

One way that he provides texture to his theoretical excursions is by introducing what he calls “dossiers” into his text at various points to interrupt and provide illustration for what he is saying at a local level. Disability Theory is siebres field-defining diwability Siebers wants to revitalize the concept of minority discourse, not as an argument for more balkanized subjectivities black, woman, gay, lesbian, etc.

In his book Disability Theory, Tobin Siebers raises a number of issues critical to disability studies. And like this important predecessor, Siebers makes good use tpbin theoretical and cultural studies approaches to disability to historicize the disabled body against the tendency to treat disability as a metaphor for something else.

Disability Theory

In construing identity as social theory, Siebers moves beyond strong social constructionism into philosophical realism in a way that is very promising for both academic theory and on-the-ground activism. These dossiers — statements by public officials, quotations from newspaper editorials, short discussions of legal cases — are concrete disabiluty of how disability is framed in the public purview by pundits, editorials, and media columnists.

This counter-argument owes a good deal to the work of Paula Moya and Satya Mohanty whose theories of realism provide an eisability framework for negotiating between social constructionist claims and lived reality. It is a good example of Siebers’ “realist” position in action.