Tragic Affirmation: Disability Beyond Optimism and Pessimism

Journal of Medical Humanities 43 (1):117-128 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Tragedy is a founding theme in disability studies. Critical disability studies have, since their inception, argued that understandings of disability as tragedy obscure the political dimensions of disability and are a barrier facing disabled persons in society. In this paper, we propose an affirmative understanding of tragedy, employing the philosophical works of Nietzsche, Spinoza and Hasana Sharp. Tragedy is not, we argue, something to be opposed by disability politics; we can affirm life within it. To make our case, we look to an ongoing ethnography of two Canadian children’s rehabilitation clinics. Looking to the clinical experience of Canadian boys and young men diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and those of their families, we show how this affirmative understanding of tragedy allows us to pursue the themes of disability politics within tragedy. Contrary to an optimism that would eschew tragedy at all costs or a pessimistic approach that declines to act in the face of tragic circumstance, we argue that a revised understanding of tragedy allows us to situate the occasionally-tragic clinical experience of disability in a philosophy of life. Both disability and tragedy point us to the shared entanglements that make life what it is.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,219

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Medical Education and Disability Studies.Fiona Kumari Campbell - 2009 - Journal of Medical Humanities 30 (4):221-235.
Disability, minority, and difference.Elizabeth Barnes - 2009 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (4):337-355.
Die Dialektik des Tragischen in Nietzsches Denken.Lucian Ionel - 2011 - Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy 3 (1):54-80.
Is Disability a Neutral Condition?Jeffrey M. Brown - 2016 - Journal of Social Philosophy 47 (2):188-210.
Nietzsche and the Approach of Tragedy.Joseph Westfall - 2003 - International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (3):333-350.
The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability.Elizabeth Barnes - 2016 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
The Complicated Relationship of Disability and Well-Being.Stephen M. Campbell & Joseph A. Stramondo - 2017 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (2):151-184.
Everworse: What's Wrong with Selecting for Disability?Mark Greene & Steven Augello - 2011 - Public Affairs Quarterly 25 (2):131-140.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-01-27

Downloads
14 (#940,384)

6 months
10 (#226,679)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The posthuman.Rosi Braidotti - 2013 - Malden, MA, USA: Polity Press.
Spinoza, practical philosophy.Gilles Deleuze - 1988 - San Francisco: City Lights Books.
Feminist, Queer, Crip.Alison Kafer - 2013 - Indiana University Press.
The gay science.Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche - 1910 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Thomas Common, Paul V. Cohn & Maude Dominica Petre.
A world of becoming.William E. Connolly - 2011 - Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

View all 10 references / Add more references