Link to recent review of important new book in disability studies

This text shows an image of the cover of Barnes's book which is a photograph of many different body types and sizes showing visible disability. It is accompanied by a quote from Hirschmann's review: "[Barnes's] attempt to moderate a path between the physical body and social constructivism, and to combat a generalized skepticism in the field of philosophy about the possibility that disability might be a good thing for some people... is an unapologetic and strong case for disability positivity."Earlier this year (2017), Hypatia Reviews Online did a review of Elizabeth Barnes’ 2016 book The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability. The review itself, by Nancy J. Hirschmann, is of great value to those of us trying to figure out where to put our money and time in terms of which books to read.

Hirschmann notes–rightly, I think–that many books and articles in philosophy on disability take a very negative view of disability. We need only think of classic uses of a right to an open future and other arguments that indicate it is morally wrong to bring a child into the world who has a trait that is disabling. Hirschmann also rightly notes that the common reaction to these negative views is to emphasize the social model of disability, which she nicely summarize in her review. Of particular interest is that Barnes doesn’t neatly subscribe to either of these approaches. You’ll have to read the review for Hirschmann’s overview of the argument, but this may be enough to make you want to do so.

Even if we decide not to read this book in full, we are better scholars to be aware of its arguments and Hirschmann’s review makes that possible.


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