States of Exceptionality: Provisional Disability, its Mitigation and Citizenship

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    In recent years, a number of common law jurisdictions in North America and Australia have delivered judgements, which, among other things, have challenged traditional formulations of impairment and legal renderings of disablement as existing independent of various technologies. In tandem with these legal re-writes, some neo-conservative legal writers have advocated for the reformulation of impairment along the lines of mitigated disability in contradistinction from voluntary or elective disability – which denotes the bodily and/or mental states of those who ‘choose’ to remain disabled. Developments in surgical techniques and pharmacology have meant that it is possible to eradicate, neutralise or morph impairment to the extent that ontologically, the disabled person is transmogrified from an ‘impaired status’ to newly fabricated able-bodiedness. Disability constructed under these circumstances can be figured as ‘tentative’ and provisional. This paper discusses these developments in intolerance, a trend which implies that impairment as impairment is intrinsically negative and explores what the notion of tentative disability means to the understanding of citizenship, the productive body and the valuing of difference within neo-liberal societies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)28-50
    Number of pages23
    JournalSocio-Legal Review
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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