Disability as a resource and perspective in research
Paper short abstract:
Disability tends to be considered a disadvantage in research. Drawing on my own experiences as a disabled anthropologist and on examples from the literature I will argue that disabled bodies may be a resource whenever one studies the socio-cultural norms underlying mundane everyday practices.
Paper long abstract:
Disability is generally considered a disadvantage in life and research. Drawing on my own experiences as a disabled anthropologist I will show that disability - defined as a deviation of (tacit) dominant norms - may be very helpful in uncovering tacit assumptions underlying everyday practices anthropologists study and that disability is not only a resource in understanding the lives of disabled citizens and healthcare practices. Disabled bodies may also shed light on the human condition, the built in norms in material culture and how gender and age are conceptualized and enacted in various cultures. Additionally, I will argue that non-disabled anthropologist may deploy a disability perspective in their research (analogues to gender and ethnicity). I will draw on various research projects and auto-ethnographic material for my argument.
Doing ethnography through the body