Abstract

The article calls for a reconsideration of the term inspiration so that it might be recuperated as a valuable emotion within disability discourse. Inspirational narratives often carry the attendant baggage of pity and fear, suggesting that disability can and should automatically evoke sympathy or concern from the audience—concern that people with disabilities might be a social or economic burden, concern of becoming disabled themselves. Dichotomously, other inspirational narratives promote the idea of the "supercrip" who, against all odds, overcomes the burdens of disability in the face of pervasive adversity. In these narratives, inspiration rightly becomes an emotion unsettling to Disability Studies and the disability community. Yet certain disabilities, such as psychiatric and emotional disabilities (arguably underrepresented in Disability Studies), may benefit from inspirational narratives. After reflecting on some analyses of these contested emotions by disability scholars, the article offers a repositioning of the term inspiration in relation to scenarios of the personal and political.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1757-6466
Print ISSN
1757-6458
Pages
pp. 173-184
Launched on MUSE
2011-06-18
Open Access
No
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