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Navigating Ambivalence

From: Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics
Volume 3, Number 3, Winter 2013
pp. 241-246 | 10.1353/nib.2013.0078



This commentary explores the sometimes uncomfortable ambivalence that colors most people’s experience of disability, either as an aspect of a person’s own identity, or as an aspect of a person’s interactions with a person with a disability. Disabilities are experienced by many as both a positive and a negative aspect of a person’s identity. The commentary describes the work of two disability scholars who have recently explored how this ambivalence affects both legal schemes and parenting decisions, and argue for a ‘destigmatizing’ of this ambivalence. The framework provided by these scholars illuminates ways in which ambivalence about the experience of disability is revealed by many of the contributors to this collection of essays, and suggests that an open confrontation with this ambivalence may facilitate more satisfactory relationships between people with and people without disabilities.

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