Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Life with Dead Metaphors

Impairment Rhetoric in Social Justice Praxis

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2015), 9, (1), 1–18.

Abstract

The article examines the ubiquitous use of impairment rhetoric within scholarly endeavors oriented by the call of social justice. However, rather than pointing out disable-ism, the article seeks to reveal some of the life and death relations that tie disability with race through impairment rhetoric. It shows how such ties were part of the founding of "disability studies" and are still accomplished today, reconstituting a version of the nature-culture divide that borrows its power from a medical sounding act of diagnosis that declares that injustice is disabling. The discussion turns to the creative potential of metaphor when engaged through a hermeneutic understanding that seeks a more life-filled relation to otherwise deadening uses of impairment rhetoric. The conclusion is that disability can open the imagination to the possibility of new worlds since it is more than a diagnostic signifier of already dead ones.

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Titchkosky, Tanya