Thursday, 10 March 2011

Ch1: Corporalities - Bodies, Objects and Words

Having moved away from the term "disability" and chosen the word chumbado, let me get on to the subject of my dissertation: corporalities.

By corporalities I mean the imagination of connections and relations between bodies, objects and words. Let me give examples from my fieldwork that show why I chose these three categories.

First, bodies. Many of the people I met do not get about the city by themselves, or do routine things at home by themselves. People who use manual chairs but don't have the strength to propel themselves need some to push. Also, some people need help with some or all of washing, getting dressed, going to the toilet, or turning over in their bed. The things they are doing on a daily basis involve more than one person; or in other words, their corporalities are produced by various bodies.

The use of wheelchairs and crutches already calls attention to the way objects are in relations with bodies. But I want a broader idea of objects that includes floors, sidewalks, buses, steps and entrances to buildings. These form people's corporalities not just by the way people physically interact with them but also by the decisions people make about where they will or will not go.

Finally, words, which I mean in a broader sense of discourse. Corporalities aren't only made by their physical properties: they are also formed by the interpretations of these properties. We'll see how situations that are similar in physical terms are seen in very different lights by different people and how their reactions are correspondingly diverse.

As you can see, I'm trying to make a notion of corporalities that doesn't just apply to chumbados. This is part of what I mean by this work being the development of an imagination.

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