Choosing Disability, Visualizing Care

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (2):301-321 (2017)
Authors
Rachel Adams
Saint Xavier University
Abstract
This article explores how visual images of dependency and care reflect and reinforce perceptions of people who are ill, disabled, or otherwise dependent, those who sustain them, and the meaning of the work they do. Scenes of care are a valuable index for understanding cultural assumptions about who is deserving of care, how and where care should be given, and who is obligated to serve as a giver of care. It positions these images in the context of the emphasis, within the disability rights movement, on independence. I argue that the insistence on independence entails a form of what Lauren Berlant calls "cruel optimism"—desire for the very things that undermine happiness and well-being—because they rely on a willful disregard of the inevitable interdependency that is a fact of all human existence, as well as the particular forms of dependency that pertain to many disabled bodies. The end of the article considers works of visual art that challenge dominant modes for representing how care is given and received. If the invisibility of caregiving is one aspect of our willful forgetting that all bodies are dependent, I'll argue that visual images of care are an essential resource for recognizing and reimagining its status in our society. One desired outcome of such reconsideration would be to complicate the meaning of autonomy—as it relates to choosing disability—as well as how the work of caregiving is acknowledged and valued.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/ken.2017.0019
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,445
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Case for Conserving Disability.Rosemarie Garland-Thomson - 2012 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 9 (3):339-355.
Making Choices.Victoria Parker - 2010 - Heinemann Library.
Disability, Minority, and Difference.Elizabeth Barnes - 2009 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (4):337-355.
Staring: How We Look.Rosemarie Garland-Thomson - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Beyond Disability?Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (2):210-228.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-07-19

Total downloads
9 ( #553,760 of 2,285,003 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #389,834 of 2,285,003 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature