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Abstract

The chapter offers an introduction to the entire collection of essays and places them in the context of Jacques Rancière’s concept of “dissensus.” It opens with a discussion of a mural in Lodz, Poland, which depicts a casual, flirtatious ocular interaction between a female wheelchair user and a non-disabled man. The artwork is used as a pretext to open a brief discussion on the politics of representation, which demonstrates that artistic works are a fertile breeding ground for dissensual ferment, which may, eventually, unsettle the fossilized norms and ways of thinking about non-standard embodiment. The chapter also briefly situates and discusses disability art and culture in the context of concepts such as Otherness, hegemony, or counter histories. It also explains how works of art may have a profound impact on the social imaginary and the power to determine who is included in the society, and who is excluded from it. The preface ends with a brief outline of how each of the individual chapters approaches the vexed questions of representation and participation.

In: Disability and Dissensus: Strategies of Disability Representation and Inclusion in Contemporary Culture

Abstract

The chapter returns to the notion of dissensus that has been discussed throughout the book and examines it in relation to the politics of participation and to what the authors describe as Dis(sensual)Art, reclaiming or cripping the somewhat stigmatizing label that has been applied to the artworks created by people with disabilities. It opens with a discussion of the recent disability protests in Poland and their media coverage. They argue that in order to create space for truly egalitarian politics of participation, communal actions are required on many levels and in various spheres of life. The chapter thus stresses the need for a productive cooperation between the academics, political activists, and artists. This is largely discussed in the context of Edward Soja’s concept of Thirdspace, and the authors argue that each of these areas has the power to create a space which unsettles the conventional, binary ways of thinking about disability. The chapter also brings together the other texts included in the volume and summarizes them to show how they contribute to the creation of a dissensual Thirdspace located at the intersection of art, activism, and academic work.

In: Disability and Dissensus: Strategies of Disability Representation and Inclusion in Contemporary Culture
Disability and Dissensus is a comprehensive collection of essays that reflects the interdisciplinary nature of critical cultural disability studies. The volume offers a selection of texts by numerous specialists in different areas of the humanities, both well-established scholars and young academics, as well as practitioners and activists from the USA, the UK, Poland, Ireland, and Greece. Taking inspiration from Critical Disability Studies and Jacques Rancière’s philosophy, the book critically engages with the changing modes of disability representation in contemporary cultures. It sheds light both on inspirations and continuities as well as tensions and conflicts within contemporary disability studies, fostering new understandings of human diversity and contributing to a dissensual ferment of thought in the academia, arts, and activism.

Contributors are: Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Dan Goodley, Marek Mackiewicz-Ziccardi, Małgorzata Sugiera, David T. Mitchell, Sharon L. Snyder, Maria Tsakiri, Murray K. Simpson, James Casey, Agnieszka Izdebska, Edyta Lorek-Jezińska, Dorota Krzemińska, Jolanta Rzeźnicka-Krupa, Wiktoria Siedlecka-Dorosz, Katarzyna Ojrzyńska, Christian O’Reilly, and Len Collin.