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Disrupting 'disability' and 'doing' it differently: professional talk and children's lives

Mills, China (2011) Disrupting 'disability' and 'doing' it differently: professional talk and children's lives. Ethnographica: journal of culture and disability, 1 (1). 12-24.. ISSN 1377-2198

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Abstract

This article is a sustained critical reflection of my experiences as a carer of a young boy with an acquired brain injury. Drawing on an amalgamation of „nomadic‟ critical readings and a deconstructive analysis of discourse, I argue that knowledge about „disability‟ and childhood has come to serve as a „regime of truth‟ (Foucault 1977), marginalizing other ways of knowing and „being‟ disabled. Reading myself into the problem, through the prac-tise of reflexivity, I interrogate the ways in which professionals play a key role in manufacturing „disability‟, deficit and dependence and how such practices separate children from their experiences, their families and from each other. I seek to trouble economic and developmental analyses of disability couched within the individualis-ing language of Developmental Psychology, documenting how this can work to govern and regulate children and families. Exploring the discourses which underlie professionals‟ „conditions of possibility‟ (Foucault 1970), including my own, I hope to open up possibilities of practising the will to know „disability‟ differently, calling for increasingly contextualised and situated ways of speaking about disabled children, troubling the „truths‟ of professional exper-tise. I argue that this enables and celebrates the dislocation and disruption of our social imaginaries of disabled children, to imagine new conditions of possibility, knowledge and practice.

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