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Disability Culture

ceburdick's picture

When I think about Kupper's questions ("What is disability culture? Is there one, are there many? Who calls culture into being?"), I think about the huge amount of diversity in the disabled population, and it seems impossible to truly define disability culture. I think a common theme is access and respect for others, but I think this manifests in many different ways. Culture for physically disabled versus intellectually disabled people is very different, and there are many differences within these two large categories. I also think it's hard to define disability culture when people with disabilities live worldwide and are influenced by the other types of culture as well. For me, it makes more sense to try and find common themes in disability culture and making a broader claim about what it is instead of trying to get into specific details about it. The diversity in the population of people with disabilities is what makes disability culture such an interesting thing to think about, as most cultures seem to apply to a more homogeneous group. People with disabilities call the culture into being, so it changes a lot and takes many different forms, which is something I am really interested in talking about in class. 


marisa's picture

Elizabeth, you highlight a lot of the main points I drew from my reading of the introduction. I agree that there is no one definition of disability culture. In addition to what you said, I might combine a few points that you brought up to form my definition of disability culture as: something that must be created by people with disabilities, and because of the diversity within the disabled population, the environment of disability culture is fluid and always changing according to the composition of the group. As Marly and you both mention in your posts, there are an innumerable amount of disability cultures that may differ due to the type of disability, race, class, gender, economic access, nationalism, religion etc of the members within the space. This theme was also brought up in Good Kings, Bad Kings when Joanne was talking about her privilege and difference in lifestyle because of her economic access compared to other people with the same disability as hers, but were less "lucky." I was also discussing this topic with a friend who has a learning disability and she scoffed at the thought of finding any shared culture between her and someone with a different type of disability, such as a physical disability, especially because being an athlete is an important identifier for herself. I pushed back against her and argued about how many people with disabilities at Haverford connect at some point because they must go through the Access and Disability Services, which related back to Elizabeth's point about how at its core, disability theory is about access intimacy and respect.