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‘The psychopathology of the normals’ Why non-disabled people are so messed up around disability Dan Goodley Inaugural lecture 14 th March 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "‘The psychopathology of the normals’ Why non-disabled people are so messed up around disability Dan Goodley Inaugural lecture 14 th March 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘The psychopathology of the normals’ Why non-disabled people are so messed up around disability Dan Goodley Inaugural lecture 14 th March 2013

2 Thank you

3 Questions 1.Who are these ‘normals’ or ‘the non- disableds’? 2.What are their ambitions but also their anxieties (and also, what do they look like)? 3.How do they behave around disability and why? 4.How can we treat them?

4 (1) Who are these ‘normals’ or ‘non- disableds’?

5 For our purposes, then, ‘the non-disabled’ and ‘the normals’ are chosen over other synonyms such as: the able-bodied (Wendell, 1989) the figure of normalcy (Davis, 1995) the normate (Garland Thomson, 2005) the marker of ableist normativity (Campbell, 2009).

6 The concept of normative order may be fetishized (C. Wright Mills, 1970: 36).

7 ‘The ‘self-made man’ is a fitting metaphor for the right, and ‘good things happen to good people’ a fitting motto’ (Bratlinger, 2001: 4).

8 The disabled person’s ‘strangeness’ can manifest and symbolize all differences between human beings … for the able-bodied, normal world we are representatives of many of the things they most fear – tragedy, loss, dark and the unknown. Involuntarily, we walk – or more often sit – in the valley of the shadow of death … a deformed and paralysed body attacks everyone’s sense of well-being and invicibility, (Hunt, 1966:151 - 156)

9 ‘An able body’, Davis argues, ‘is the body of a citizen’. By contrast, ‘deformed, deafened, amputated, obese, female, perverse, crippled, maimed and blinded bodies do not make up the body politic’ (Davis, 1995: 71-72). The statistical average becomes equated with ‘average man’ – ‘L’homme moyen’ of the statistician Quetelet who was working in the 19 th Century – typifying the expected and cherished norms of the ruling classes of a given time.


11 ‘normotic illness’ Bollas (1987)

12 (2) What are the normals’ ambitions but also their anxieties? (and what do they look like?)

13 13 His same and his many others

14 M M U SY MP OS IU M 1 The same individual is …… and constituted through … Cognitively, socially and emotionally able and competent Disabling society (Oliver, 1990; 1996) or ableist society (Campbell, 2008a, 2008b, 2009) Biologically and psychologically stable, genetically sound and ontologically responsible Societies governed by bio and thanatopolitics (Rose, 2001); technology (Lash, 2001), new eugenics and Human Genome Project (Davis, 2002). Normal: Sane, autonomous, self-sufficient, reasonable, law abiding and economically viable Mentalism and sanism (Chamberlin, 1990; Lewis, 2008); normalcy (Davis, 1995), normate culture (Garland-Thomson, 1996; Michalko, 2002), normative mobility (Shuttleworth, 2002), normalising society (Tremain, 2005a); neurotic society (Marks, 1999a; Olkin and Pledger, 2003); meritocracy (Fukushima, 2009); entrepreneurial society (Masschelein and Simons, 2005) White, heterosexual, male, adult, living in towns, global citizen of WENA Heteronormativity (Sherry, 2004); occidentalism (Venn, 2001), colonialism (Fanon, 1993); self- contained individualism (Sampson, 1977, 1985, 1988, 1993); patriarchy, malestream and phallocentric society (Hare Mustin and Marecek, 1992); compulsory heterosexuality, masculinity and ablebodiedness (e.g. Rich, 1987; Connell, 2002; McRuer, 2006)

15 4/26/2015 15 1920s North American Eugenics Pamphlet

16 Normals hunt in pairs

17 Normals hunt in packs

18 The normal is unfaithful



21 The normal had a mullet

22 The normal worries about not being normal enough

23 The normal deals with his own normate failings by finding failure in others

24 Some normals make a career out of finding failure in others




28 Many normals have a problem with ways of life unlike their own

29 Many normal establishments police their borders carefully



32 Nndr 2011 32 Googling ‘normal man’ can offer some nice surprises

33 (3) How do they behave around disability and why?

34 34 ESRC project, ‘Does every child matter, post Blair? The interconnections of disabled childhoods’ with Dr Katherine Runswick Cole / / What is it like to grow up as a disabled child in Post-Blair England?

35 35 Goodley and Lawthom (2005).(eds). Disability and psychology London: Plagrave.

36 36 McLaughlin, J., Goodley, D., Clavering, E., Tregaskis, C. and Fisher, P. (2008). Families with disabled children: values of enabling care and social justice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

37 37 Goodley (2011). Disability Studies: An interdisciplinary introduction. London: Sage.

38 An email In October and November 2011 (DISABILITY- RESEARCH@JISCMAIL.AC.UK) Comrades I am writing a slightly tongue in cheek (as you can tell by the working title) but also, I hope, serious, article exploring non-disabled people’s reaction to disability. I would like to collect stories from list members about non-disabled people’s verbal or other responses to disability that you have witnessed. In writing the article I will be making clear that not all non-disabled people engage in such responses, that many non-disabled people are allies, friends, supporters and parents of disabled people and that we are all marked by differences associated with class, gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity, etc. Moreover, of course, what counts as non/disabled is open to debate. However, I do want the article to expose, hopefully explain and also challenge some of the common reactions of non- disabled society to disability.

39 Data Analysis

40 Social psychoanalytic disability studies

41 Contradictions …

42 Apotemnophobia (fear of persons with amputations) Scotomaphobia (fear of blindness in visual field) Psellismophobia (fear of stuttering) (

43 The uncanny


45 Nndr 2011 45

46 disavowal

47 (1)Intimate invitations sex

48 (2) Charitable donations

49 (3) Ontological invalidation: putting the 'dis' in disability

50 (4) Disability kitsch and common parlance (3) Disability kitsch and common parlance

51 (4) How can we treat them?

52 Spread the word about disability activism

53 Therapy for the normals. Michele Donald Therapist

54 Michele Donald

55 Celebrating our potential to be abnormal

56 Celebrating our potential to be abnormal ‘I’m making biscuits out of crack cocaine and marzipan’ Welcome to the gallery. Every picture is inspired by a tic, and each one’s been created by a member of the site.

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