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Feminist Review

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 42–58 | Cite as

debilitating times: compulsory ablebodiedness and white privilege in theory and practice

  • Kay Inckle
Article

Abstract

In this paper I take up a critical position in regard to the theme of debility around which this collection is framed. I argue that theorisations of ‘debility’ do little to progress theory and policy in regard to disability and share many of the problems inherent to the social model. I also suggest that the theorisation of debility is rooted in and reinforces ablebodied privilege. I begin with a critical analysis of the social model of disability and explore the dualisms by which it either negates the body altogether or can only conceive the disabled body in negative terms. I then go on to explore how Puar’s work on debility continues this negation of the disabled body. From this position I use the work of Inahara to excavate the foundations of ablebodied privilege. In Inahara’s work gender is the analytic starting point, but for me white privilege is a much more effective mechanism through which to understand the impact and reproduction of ablebodied privilege—what McRuer refers to as ‘compulsory ablebodiedness’—which I argue underpins Puar’s work. I conclude with some reflections upon how a critical analysis of ablebodied privilege might function and I reiterate its importance for a critical theory that goes beyond the mere repetition of binary structures of ablebodiedness and disability.

Keywords

compulsory ablebodiedness debility disability impairment social model white privilege 

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Copyright information

© Feminist Review 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kay Inckle

There are no affiliations available

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