Metanarratives of Disability : Culture, Assumed Authority, and the Normative Social Order book cover
1st Edition

Metanarratives of Disability
Culture, Assumed Authority, and the Normative Social Order

Edited By

David Bolt

ISBN 9780367523190
Published May 27, 2021 by Routledge
258 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores multiple metanarratives of disability to introduce and investigate the critical concept of assumed authority and the normative social order from which it derives.

The book comprises 15 chapters developed across three parts and, informed by disability studies, is authored by those with research interests in the condition on which they focus as well as direct or intimate experiential knowledge. When out and about, many disabled people know only too well what it is to be erroneously told the error of our/their ways by non-disabled passers-by, assumed authority often cloaked in helpfulness. Showing that assumed authority is underpinned by a displacement of personal narratives in favour of overarching metanarratives of disability that find currency in a diverse multiplicity of cultural representations – ranging from literature to film, television, advertising, social media, comics, art, and music – this work discusses how this relates to a range of disabilities and chronic conditions, including blindness, autism, Down syndrome, diabetes, cancer, and HIV and AIDS.

Metanarratives of Disability will be of interest to all scholars and students of disability studies, medical sociology, medical humanities, education studies, cultural studies, and health.

'offers a well-structured, accessible collection of disability narratives that foreground disabled voices' Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 16.1 (2022)


Table of Contents


Part I: International Developments of the Foundational Concept

  1. The Metanarrative of Blindness in North America: Meaning, Feeling, and Feel
    Devon Healey and Rod Michalko
  2. The Metanarrative of Blindness in the Global South: A LatDisCrit Counterstory to the Bittersweet Mythology of Blindness as Giftedness
    Alexis Padilla
  3. The Metanarrative of Blindness in India: Special Education and Assumed Knowledge Cultures
    Hemachandran Karah
  4. Part II: Beyond Normative Minds and Bodies

  5. The Metanarrative of Mental Illness: A Collaborative Autoethnography
    Katharine Martyn and Annette Thompson
  6. The Metanarrative of OCD: Deconstructing Positive Stereotypes in Media and Popular Nomenclature
    Angela J. Kim
  7. The Metanarrative of Learning Disability: Vulnerability, Unworthiness, and Requiring Control
    Owen Barden and Steven J. Walden
  8. The Metanarrative of Autism: Eternal Childhood and the Failure of Cure
    Sonya Freeman Loftis
  9. The Metanarrative of Down Syndrome: Proximity to Animality
    Helen Davies
  10. The Metanarrative of Dwarfism: Heightism and its Social Implications
    Erin Pritchard
  11. Part III: Chronic Conditions and the Emergence of Disability

  12. The Metanarrative of Chronic Pain: Culpable, Duplicitous, and Miserable
    Danielle Kohfeldt and Gregory Mather
  13. The Metanarrative of Diabetes: Should You Be Eating That?
    Heather R. Walker and Bianca C. Frazer
  14. The Metanarrative of Cancer: Disrupting the Battle Myth
    Nicola Martin
  15. The Metanarrative of HIV and AIDS: Losing Track of an Epidemic
    Brenda Tyrrell
  16. The Metanarrative of Sarcoidosis: Life in Liminality
    Dana Combs Leigh
  17. The Metanarrative of Arthritis: Playing and Betraying the Endgame
    David Bolt




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David Bolt is Professor of Disability Studies and Director of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies at Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom.