Bauman's Strangers: impairment and the invalidation of disabled people in modern and post-modern cultures

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Modernity is at the heart of the transformation of impairment into disability. This paper seeks to map out the processes that underpin this claim. Its focus is on the cultures of modernity and post-modernity, and how these complex legacies have constituted and invalidated mental and physical difference. The work of Zygmunt Bauman, particularly his use of the sociology of the (modern) stranger and his redemptive critique of modern and post-modern cultures provides a framework for the discussion. Bauman's work has no explicit connection to Disability Studies, but his sensitivity to modern patterns of exclusion and 'othering' provide not only a useful template to think through the relationship between modernity and disability, but also a useful corrective to the tendency in UK disability studies to ignore the 'cultural turn'.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2002



  • post-modern cultures
  • disability studies

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