The Notion of Disability and Related Research Terminology: Discussion Points
The history of civilization is also the history of incapacitation and the use of new artificial appliances and practices gradually introduced at every stage of humanity’s development in order to help people survive regardless of the laws of natural selection. This article considers the terminology related to the sphere of disability and bodily deviation through a historical perspective while also focusing on forms of representation and their comprehension by society. The author demonstrates that the term “deviation” serves to classify people with disabilities and forms of their representation. People with a bodily deviation can be easily portrayed from the point of view of the visual, with artistic attention to them reaching its climax between the seventeenth and the early nineteenth centuries. In such works, disabled people try to overcome the stigma and start being perceived like everyone else. Starting with the early nineteenth century, works of fiction refer to deviant sense organs. Only in the twentieth century did writers start focusing on deviant psyches and minds, which were previously associated with deviations in social behaviour. The author maintains that the terminology of disability relies on the existing universal bodily norm describing it and its deviations. A person with a bodily deviation is perceived as a disabled one when they are perceived as ‘the other’. When compared with a ‘healthy’ person, a deviant is taken as a disabled one; when considered separately, a deviant is a person with alternative possibilities. From this perspective, disability is part of a paradigm of otherness (age, gender, and nationality).
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