Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body by Lennard J. Davis
Review by Jolene Rueden, Fall 2011
Terms found in the text:
- Normal, normalcy, normality, norm, average, abnormal
- Ideal human body
- Disabled, disability
Enforcing normalcy challenges the very notion of what it means to be normal and who defines normal in society. The book argues that some of the characterization of those labeled as impaired is the outcome of social and political decisions rather than medical limitations. As stated in the book, “This conceptualization involves the idea that in an ableist society, the ‘normal’ people have constructed the world physically and cognitively to reward those with like abilities and handicap those with unlike abilities.” Controversial issues of trying to create a society of ablebodied, healthy individuals is exposed as something that was actually tried in the history of humanity. “In England, bills were introduced in Parliament to control mentally disabled people, and in 1933 the prestigious scientific magazine Nature approved the Nazis’ proposal of a bill for the avoidance of inherited diseases in posterity by sterilizing the disabled.” How far will we go to enforce normalcy of mind and body, and who will we let decide who controls the meaning of normal. An interesting read for all those who want to challenge the notion of normalcy and celebrate the uniqueness of every human being, every human body, and the desired self-expression of every person.