"We swam before we breathed or walked' : able-bodied belonging in popular stories of evolutionary biology

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Vaahtera , T 2016 , ' "We swam before we breathed or walked' : able-bodied belonging in popular stories of evolutionary biology ' , Disability & Society , vol. 31 , no. 5 , pp. 591-603 . https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2016.1188767

Title: "We swam before we breathed or walked' : able-bodied belonging in popular stories of evolutionary biology
Author: Vaahtera, Touko
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Behavioural Sciences
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Number of pages: 13
Belongs to series: Disability & Society
ISSN: 0968-7599
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/229611
Abstract: This article introduces the concept of able-bodied belonging,' and pays particular attention to the cultural mechanisms in which ableism intertwines with the forms of belonging. Taking a cultural studies viewpoint, the article focuses on present evolutionary biological accounts, and explores the ableist and speciesist assumptions that frame evolutionary biology. The article investigates how these accounts invoke a feeling of belonging to the animal world in ways which reinforce the idea that only a particular kind of body is species-typical of humans. First, the article explores how the cultural stories that emphasize the connection between human beings and non-human species eventually distance particular bodies from humanity. Second, the article shows how humans' connection to the animal world could emerge in a way that contests the exceptionality of able-bodied humanity.
Subject: Evolutionary biology
ableism
speciesism
cultural studies
516 Educational sciences
5141 Sociology
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