The Notion of Disability and Related Research Terminology: Discussion Points




disabled person; deviant body; deviant senses; deviant psyche and mind; organ projection; disability studies


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).

Author Biography

Mikhail Stroganov

Dr. Hab. (Philology), Professor, Kosygin State University of Russia; Leading Researcher, Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

33, bldg. 1, Sadovnicheskaya Str., 117997, Moscow, Russia.

25a, Povarskaya Str. 121069, Moscow, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-7618-7436


Florensky, P. A. (1969). Organoproektsiya [Organ Projection]. In Dekorativnoe iskusstvo. No. 12, pp. 149–162.

Heller, L. (2006). “Organoproektsiya”: v poiskakh ochelovechennogo mira [Organ Projection: In Search of a Humanised World]. In Zvezda. No. 11, pp. 145–156.

Heller, L. (2009). О protezakh i paradigme Novogo Cheloveka [Of Prostheses and the Paradigm of the New Man]. In Faustov, A. (Ed.). Universalii russkoi kul’tury. Voronezh, Izdatel’stvo Voronezhskogo universiteta, pp. 69–75.

Heller, L. (2019). O “yarostnom ekspressionizme” i proze s protezami [On “Violent Expressionism” and Prose with Prostheses]. In Quaestio Rossica. Vol. 7. No. 1, pp. 171–186. DOI 10.15826/qr.2019.1.370.

Kazarnovsky, P. (2019). Telesnye i prostranstvennye anomalii kak otrazhenie vseobshchego raspada (roman Pavla Zal'tsmana “Shchenki”) [Physical and Spatial Anomalies as a Reflection of Total Decay (Pavel Salzman’s Puppies)]. In Quaestio Rossica. Vol. 7. No. 1, pp. 203–221. DOI 10.15826/qr.2019.1.372.

Morard, A., Soboleva, L., Redin, D. (2019). Transformations of Society, Bodily Imperfection, and Spiritual Beauty. In Quaestio Rossica. Vol. 7. No. 1, pp. 7–20. DOI 10.15826/qr.2019.1.359.

Podoroga, Iu. (2019). Revolyutsionnaya telesnost': A. Platonov i P. Filonov v poiskakh dushi [Revolutionary Corporality: Platonov and Filonov in Search of the Soul]. In Quaestio Rossica. Vol. 7. No. 1, pp. 187–202. DOI 10.15826/qr.2019.1.371.

Stroganov, M. (2019). Vokrug “Slepogo muzykanta”: khudozhestvennaya reprezentatsiya deviantnykh organov chuvstv [Around The Blind Musician: The Artistic Representation of Deviant Sense Organs]. In Quaestio Rossica. Vol. 7. No. 1, pp. 155–170. DOI 10.15826/qr.2019.1.369.

Stroganov, M. V. (2018). Avtoreprezentatsiya slepoglukhogo cheloveka v literature [Auto-Representation of a Deaf-Blind Person in Literature]. In Kurlenkova, A. S., Nosenko-Shtein, E. E. (Eds.). Obratnaya storona Luny, ili Chto my ne znaem ob invalidnosti: teoriya, reprezentatsii, praktiki. Sbornik statei. Moscow, MBA, pp. 127–177.

Stroganov, M. V. (2020). Invalid invalidu rozn': tipologiya deviatsii i kul'turnoe osmyslenie tipov invalidnosti [There are Disabled People, and Then There are Disabled People: A Typology of Deviation and the Cultural Conceptualisation of Disability Types]. In Glushakov, P. S., Barago, D. S. (Eds.). Homo liber. Sbornik pamyati L. G. Frizmana. Kiev, Izdatel'skii dom Dmitriya Burago, pp. 361–389.



How to Cite

Stroganov, M. (2020). The Notion of Disability and Related Research Terminology: Discussion Points. Quaestio Rossica, 8(1), 319–325.



Controversiae et recensiones