Screen Readers Skip to Content

Disability Theory, Studies and Literary Analysis

Updated/Revised Date: 2021-07-29
Author: Disabled World | Contact us

Synopsis: Collection of scholarly papers that include disability theory, disability literary analysis and disabilities studies, an academic discipline that examines the meaning, nature, and consequences of disability. Many critics examine works to understand how representations of disability and "normal" bodies change throughout history, including the ways both are defined within the limits of historical or cultural situations. Critical disability theory refers to a diverse, interdisciplinary set of theoretical approaches. The task of critical disability theory is to analyze disability as a cultural, historical, relative, social, and political phenomenon.

Main Document

Literature has always been the mirror of human beings and their accomplishments.

Related

Literature affects, not just reflects, society and its views of disabled individuals; so how were disabled characters portrayed, what did they say, do, or become? What was reality-based and what was simple plot-driven necessity? The attitudes towards disabled individuals are as diverse as people are diverse. Some of those attitudes, however, can be grouped together: attitudes of fear, attitudes of revulsion, and attitudes of pity are just three of the more horrific ones. These attitudes have not only been displayed by people, they have also been imposed upon people - often disabled people (https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10125/58432/574.pdf).

Many critics examine works to understand how representations of disability and "normal" bodies change throughout history, including the ways both are defined within the limits of historical or cultural situations. Disability studies also investigates images and descriptions of disability, prejudice against people with disabilities (ableism), and the ways narrative relates to disability. Because of its concern with the body and embodiment, disability studies also intersects other critical schools like gender studies, queer studies, feminism, critical race studies, and more.

Defining Literary Analysis

A literary analysis is, in essence, an essay that delves deeper into a work of literature; examining and evaluating the various plot twists, character traits, events and setting in hopes of gaining a better insight into the message the author intended to deliver.

A literary analysis is not merely a summary of a literary work. Instead, it is an argument about the work that expresses a writer's personal perspective, interpretation, judgment, or critical evaluation of the work. This is accomplished by examining the literary devices, word choices, or writing structures the author uses within the work. The purpose of a literary analysis is to demonstrate why the author used specific ideas, word choices, or writing structures to convey his or her message. By way of definition, a literary analysis is:

"The practice or process or closely examining sections of literary writing to uncover how they relate to or affect the work as a whole. Structured literary analysis focuses predominately on the theme, plot, setting, character(s) and several other literary devices used by the author to create the true meaning of their work." - (aresearchguide.com/write-literary-analysis.html).

Critical Disability Theory

Critical disability theory refers to a diverse, interdisciplinary set of theoretical approaches. The task of critical disability theory is to analyze disability as a cultural, historical, relative, social, and political phenomenon. Some call this work "critical disability studies" or CDS (e.g., Meekosha & Shuttleworth 2009; Vehmas & Watson 2014). Critical disability theory is able to challenge traditional disability studies and engage in transformative, intersectional, and coalitional critical work (Ellis et al. 2018).

Critical disability theory challenges the normative assumptions, focus, and direction of more traditional disability studies. This more traditional disability studies is an interdisciplinary field with origins in the promotion of the social model of disability (Mollow 2017: 340 - disability: definitions, models, experience) - (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/disability-critical/).

Disability Studies

Disability studies is an academic discipline that examines the meaning, nature, and consequences of disability. Initially, the field focused on the division between "impairment" and "disability", where impairment was an impairment of an individual's mind or body, while disability was considered a social construct. This premise gave rise to two distinct models of disability: the social and medical models of disability. Disability studies began to emerge in the West in the late twentieth century as a result of the success of the disability rights movement, the seminal work of a few scholars like Erving Goffman and Michel Foucault, and the flourishing of other interdisciplinary identity-based approaches that revealed compelling new aspects of the humanities while emphasizing rights (literariness.org/2018/12/15/disability-studies-2/).

Disability Studies and Children's Literature

It is unusual to find discussions of disability issues in commentaries that examine broad genres of children's literature, although these texts have often included observations on race, gender or other major forms of bias. The insight that disability scholars can bring to analysis of children's literature lies in their understanding of "disability" not as a personalized, wholly biological and medically mediated characteristic, but as a social construction evidenced in texts as the described attitudes of both disabled and non-disabled.

Disability and Religion: Studies and Overview

Disability, be it physical or mental, has been largely misunderstood by many. From healing miracles that position the disabled body as a site for manifesting religious faith to sacred scriptures that treat disability as a form of deviance or an expression of divine judgment, disability has an uneasy place within religious texts and traditions. While some fail to understand the condition, others might be insensitive to it - then there are some who believe that disability is a curse - Disability and Religion.

Subtopics and Associated Subjects


Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2021, July 29). Disability Theory, Studies and Literary Analysis. Disabled World. Retrieved September 19, 2021 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/publications/studies/