Everyday Encounters with Disability
This chapter explores the processes of inquiry through which pregnant women and their relatives interpreted the diagnosis they received when a fetus was labeled abnormal. When abortion decisions were made, the chapter shows, they were based on experiential and embodied forms of knowledge of the social and economic implications of childhood disability. In a social setting where welfare provisioning is practically nonexistent, responsibility for a disabled child places enormous social and economic demands on parents. In addition to problems of care, childhood disability raises moral problems: since full personhood is held to depend on the individual's ability to contribute to the collective and take part in everyday practices of reciprocity and exchange, the personhood of disabled children can never be taken for granted. This brings parents’ personhood into question too; a defective child body, the chapter shows, places parents in a situation of deep moral vulnerability, rendering them unable to attain the full social belonging that the parenting of a nondisabled child would have granted them.
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