Geodisability knowledge production and international norms: A Sri Lankan case study

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Disability is a representational system and its denotation is a result of how communities make sense of and mark corporeal differences. In this paper I argue that the UN norm standard setting, a form of geodisability knowledge, determines the kinds of bodies known as disabled and acts as a technology of disability governmentality. The institutional strategic gaze, sited in the UN, examines, normalises and conditions nation-states. Without consensual international disability norms it would not be possible to disclose and make visible the dynamics of disability at a country level and for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to map disability globally. An alternate reading of international norms is to figure the functioning of geodisability knowledge to naturalise it through codifying hegemonic ways of seeing, citing and situating disability and thus colonise different cultural approaches to disability. A discussion of geodisability knowledge production is pursued within the context of a Sri Lankan case study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1455-1474
Number of pages20
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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