Type / Thesis

From Passing to Masquerade and Performance: The Body Politics of People with Disabilities

Hsiao-yu, Sun

Page / 113-146

Abstract


Disability activists assert that body is a place of power struggles and disability is socially constructed. With “different” bodies, people with disabilities, under the constant and prejudiced staring from ableism, are stigmatized as “the other” by the dominant culture. They are deprived of the rights and opportunities to receive integrate education, get a job, and participate in the public space. As a result, they can hardly claim subjectivity or identity. Insofar as they are discriminated against, marginalized, and disfranchised, they become dehumanized. In the 70s, disability activists and scholars started to claim their rights as human and citizens and, furthermore, to undermine the domination and hegemony of the ableist ideology. Drawing on Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s theory of staring, Lennard Davis’ discourse on the construction of normalcy, Robert McRuer’s crip theory about the able-bodied performance, Fiona Kumari Campbell’s discussion of ableism, and Tobin Siebers’ theory on passing and masquerade, the essay studies the body politics of the disabled, with a special emphasis on Simi Linton’s My Body Politic: A Memoir, from the perspectives of staring, passing, claiming, masquerade, and performance; it also illustrates how their arguments provide the strategies for liberating people with disabilities from stigmatization and oppression.

Keywords : ableism, body politics, Simi Linton, staring, disability studies.
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