Wounded/monstrous/abject: a critique of the disabled body in the sociological imaginary

Bill Hughes

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76 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary sociology has made sense of bodily difference by mobilising a number of tropes. 'Wounded' (or vulnerable), 'monstrous' and 'abject' stand out by virtue of their ubiquity though they do not exhaust the repertoire. These categories highlight the conceptual tensions between the sociology of the body and Disability Studies. In this paper, I will examine the value of these tropes to Disability Studies and suggest that while they can help to clarify the processes that bring about the misrecognition of disabled people, understanding the nature and scope of the lives of disabled people in modernity requires a more embodied language rather than one that has been generated from a sociological imaginary that is strongly influenced by a non-disabled subject position in which repulsion for the other - which one must become - is never fully resolved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-410
Number of pages12
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • sociology
  • disability


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