Chapter

Masquerades of Impairment: Charity as a Confidence Game

in Cultural Locations of Disability

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780226767314
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226767307 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226767307.003.0002
Masquerades of Impairment: Charity as a Confidence Game

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This chapter explains the practice of group differentiation as a matter of partitioning the deserving from the undeserving poor. The “undeserving” are those who do not try hard enough. This historical practice has repercussions in contemporary global urban centers of making disabled bodies the deficient ones that merit donations for the sake of their bodily suffering. This practice extends from the badging laws of charitable giving to the apparent benefit of “qualifying” for a handicap parking pass. The chapter discusses these historically generated and highly “natural” means for serving disabled persons as a way to think about strategies employed for the control and management of disability that have been exported and enforced across human societies to one degree or another. Examples of the detrimental labeling phenomenon given in the chapter provide a glimpse into historical attitudes toward disability and thus function as lessons in how scientific and medical categories come replete with stigmatizing beliefs.

Keywords: impairment; charity; group differentiation; bodily suffering; disability management; stigmatizing

Chapter.  12633 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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