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A Reflection on Disability Culture-ing

jogengo's picture

In reflecting on Kuppers’ work, I really enjoyed how disability culture was described as a verb. I think this gives justice to how dynamic, rebellious, and active it is. Describing disability culture as being “more like a process than a state,” as Kuppers states,  gives justice to the aforementioned active and dynamic qualities of disability and the disability community. Kuppers’ unique perspective in the world of dance and movement fuels these insights. Kuppers revisits this point of culture being an action and work of progress rather than a state when she uses terms like “culture-ing.” Her point about disability being a process is supported by her mentioning, what I believe to be the action behind the verb culture-ing: “. . . getting out from under disability definitions and models and finding other ways of generating and transmitting knowledge.” In this way, disability culture is not determined or defined by the typical white, wealthy, male, able-bodied, etc. group that decides plenty of things as is, but disability culture is decided, every day, uniquely, by those who identify with a disability (and it changes as they see fit). When those on the “outside” of this community, although Kuppers discourages drawing boundaries in her work, may impose one definition of what they think disability should be, as Kuppers puts it: “there is not one disability culture in the room.” Disability culture is uniquely cultivated and performed by each individual in the community, actively. What I think makes disability culture “impossibly possible,” as Kuppers puts it, is that it can be so uniquely and dynamically experienced by each individual while also being an inclusive and uniting force when it is working how it should. And how should it work? That too is likely a process rather than a state, but it is a process that is decided by those who cultivate and create disability culture – those with disabilities!