Disability worlds

Faye Ginsburg, Rayna Rapp

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Disability is a profoundly relational category, shaped by social conditions that exclude full participation in society. What counts as an impairment in different sociocultural settings is highly variable. Recently, new approaches by disability scholars and activists show that disability is not simply lodged in the body, but created by the social and material conditions that "dis-able" the full participation of those considered atypical. Historically, anthropological studies of disability were often intellectually segregated, considered the province of those in medical and applied anthropology. We show the growing incorporation of disability in the discipline on its own terms by bringing in the social, activist, reflexive, experiential, narrative, and phenomenological dimensions of living with particular impairments. We imagine a broad future for critical anthropological studies of disability and argue that as a universal aspect of human life this topic should be foundational to the field.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)53-68
    Number of pages16
    JournalAnnual review of anthropology
    StatePublished - 2013


    • Disability studies
    • Embodiment
    • Impairment
    • Reflexivity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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