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Explaining the Unexplainable: Theorizing the Starving of the Disabled Other

journal contribution
posted on 2024-01-31, 03:01 authored by Ryan Thorneycroft, Peta CookPeta Cook, Nicole AsquithNicole Asquith
Every year, stories emerge of cases involving the starvation of disabled people, such as Ann Marie Smith in 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. Despite this, starvation practices against disabled people remain under-theorized. This may reflect that starvation as a topic is largely confined to international relations literature (e.g. during war), or conversely, in medicalized accounts pathologising the individual body (e.g. anorexia, Munchausen syndrome by proxy). More broadly, the “unique” starvation practices against disabled people are sidelined as rubrics of “neglect” or “abuse” take precedence, meaning we fail to engage with the specificity/particularity of starvation practices as forms of violence. Starvation practices against disabled people in interpersonal (or familial) contexts are qualitatively different; this article addresses this gap by providing a preliminary theorization of such violence. We survey the existing literature before invoking two frames–“Vulnerability and Harm by Design” and “Disability’s Deathly Status”–which we suggest provide an account of starvation as a form of violence. Rather than conceive these practices through an individualizing lens, we consider the broader social and institutional norms and practices that facilitate this conduct. We then turn to the promise of crip utopian futures in collective efforts to resist these cycles of violence and to promote interdependent, accessible, and crip socialities/futures.

History

Sub-type

  • Article

Publication title

Deviant Behavior

Volume

ahead-of-print

Issue

ahead-of-print

Pagination

16

eISSN

1521-0456

ISSN

0163-9625

Department/School

Office of the School of Social Sciences, Policing and Emergency Management, Sociology and Criminology

Publisher

TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC

Publication status

  • Published online

Rights statement

© 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

UN Sustainable Development Goals

16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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