Indian Contributions to Thinking about Studies in Ableism
Challenges, Dangers and Possibilities
Keywords:Disability, Critical Disability Studies,, Disability Studies, Buddhism, Jain, Hinduism, Ableism, South Asia, India
The article suggests ways to foster quality and rigour in research production around ‘south Asian’ experiences. This project is fundamental from an ethical perspective in terms of undertaking quality and rigorous research publications, but also to challenge some common research practices amongst non-occidental and occidental scholars. Disability studies in the sub-continent needs to be critical of the uncritical reception of occidental critical disability studies into our realm, along with its scaffolding of conceptual formations such as ideas of Self–kin relations, agency, sexualities, identity politics, to name a few areas. The article first explores the idea of ‘south Asianess’ or indeed ‘Indian’ as a default, fictionalised space producing a monologue, due to colonisation and the ‘idea of the ‘captive mind’. Secondly, I provide an overview of the notion of ableism and its relation to systems of dehumanisation and identity. There is an interlude into examining caste and ableism and the re-emergence of scientific racism. The final section of the article turns toward aspects within Indian philosophical traditions that provide new opportunities for a distinctive Indian form of disability studies, namely heterodox argumentation and the strands of an integrative ethos.
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