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What's so ‘critical’ about critical disability studies?

journal contribution
posted on 2009-11-01, 00:00 authored by H Meekosha, Russell ShuttleworthRussell Shuttleworth
© 2009 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. This article self-reflexively turns the focus on disability studies to consider why critical disability studies (CDS) is emerging as the preferred nomenclature and whether this constitutes a radical paradigm shift, or simply signifies a maturing of the discipline. We first trace the emergence of disability studies as part of the disability rights movement, which harboured a primarily materialist critique against the normative status quo. The diversification of critical social theory that has occurred in recent years has opened up new modes of critical enquiry. Yet there are nevertheless several principles that we feel it is important to maintain and we briefly outline these: (1) the irreducibility of social life to objective facts; (2) the requirement of linking theory with praxis in the struggle for an autonomous and participatory society; (3) the necessity that a discipline or field of study be aware of its own historicity and critically reflect on its conceptual framework; and (4) the need to engage in a dialogue with other cultures on the issues and concepts of current significance. We subsequently trace some of the areas where critical theory has been employed in the study of disability. Critical social thought, grounded in the principles we discuss and developing innovative lines of enquiry, has the potential to render a wide range of issues and discourses heretofore obscured visible in the study of disability.

History

Journal

Australian Journal of Human Rights

Volume

15

Pagination

47-75

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1323-238X

eISSN

2573-573X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

1

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

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