A Foucauldian journey into the islands of the deaf and blind

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This autoethnographic study integrates Foucault's genealogical approach to explore disability, notably deafness and blindness, from historical, social, and personal perspectives. Disability as a modern institution is defined through nuances of language and silence so that power constructs are hidden and continue to evolve through social collusion. Multiple modern circumlocutions intensify the sense of dislocation, emphasising the difference it attempts to conceal, which makes disability a ripe field for ethnographic work. The two men studied, Blind Brewster and Deaf Brewster, led creative working lives that found a small place in history. Both were sustained by a deep piety. The language used to hide disability in the contemporary world is more destructive than protective, in comparison with the blunt labelling of the deaf and blind two hundred years ago when it was a point of distinction, not discrimination
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-223
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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