Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Life on Wheels: Disability, Democracy, and Political Inclusion in Live Flesh and The Sea Inside

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2010), 4, (1), 17–32.

Abstract

The article explores how the representation of disability in two Spanish films elucidates the connection between democracy and political inclusion. Pedro Almodóvar's Carne trémula (Live Flesh, 1997) depicts Spain's transition to democracy, while Alejandro Amenábar's Mar adentro (The Sea Inside, 2004) portrays the life of Ramón Sampedro, a quadriplegic proeuthanasia activist. Both films treat disability as a minority identity from which critical scrutiny of the contemporary democratic state emerges; yet they offer very different assessments of the political value of that identity. Carne trémula aligns disability with larger cultural transformation, demonstrating how the inclusion of people with disabilities might foster a more democratic political climate for all citizens. Mar adentro, by focusing solely on individual rights, presents disability as something to be accommodated but not a force for broader social change. Examined together, the films offer a framework for rethinking the roles of both disability and minority identity within democracy.

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Zames Fleischer, Doris and Frieda Zames. "Compassionate Killings." Disability Studies Quarterly 25.3 (2005): > www.dsq-sds-archives.org Google Scholar

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Minich, Julie