Disability Studies and Spanish Culture

Disability Studies and Spanish Culture: Films, Novels, the Comic and the Public Exhibition

Benjamin Fraser
Volume: 6
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 256
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Disability Studies and Spanish Culture
    Book Description:

    Disability Studies and Spanish Culture is the first book to apply the tenets of Disability Studies to the Spanish context. In particular, this work is an important corrective to existing cultural studies of disability in Spain that tend to largely ignore intellectual disabilities. Taking on the representation of Down syndrome, autism, alexia/agnosia as well as childhood disability, its chapters combine close readings of a number of Spanish cultural products (films, novels, the comic/graphic novel and the public exhibition) with a broader socio-cultural take on the state of disability in Spain. Fraser is just as comfortable with the work of disability theorists who advocate a social model of disability (such as Lennard J. Davis, Licia Carlson, Eva Feder Kittay, David T. Mitchell, Sharon L. Snyder and more) as he is with the analysis of film and literature in the Spanish context. While researchers and students of cinema will be particularly interested in the book’s detailed analyses of the formal aspects of the films, comics, and novels discussed, readers from backgrounds in history, political science and sociology will all be able to appreciate discussions of contemporary legislation, advocacy groups, cultural perceptions, models of social integration and more. The book is directed, also, toward those readers more familiar with the growing field of Disability Studies itself—making the argument that the specific case of Spanish culture and society speaks to shifts in the social attitudes and theoretical understandings of disability more broadly considered.

    eISBN: 978-1-84631-796-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxviii)

    In the introduction that launches his landmark 1997 reader on the subject, Lennard J. Davis notably frames Disability Studies as a political project, embracing an approach that envisions the field as at once ‘an academic field of inquiry and an area of political inquiry’ (‘Introduction’ 1). In my view, this is yet another way of embracing the critical aim of cultural studies as described by one of the eclectic (and still forming) discipline’s founders, Raymond Williams. In 1986, Williams retrospectively summed up the premise of cultural studies as ‘the refusal to give priority to either the project or the formation—...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Filming Down Syndrome
    (pp. 1-33)

    At the heart of Álvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro’s film,Yo, también[Me, Too] (2009), there is the seed of a wonderfully understated political project, pushing for the full social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities, developmental disabilities in particular. Screened at festivals in both San Sebastian and Cannes (2010), the film documents a crucial and transitional period in the life of Daniel, a 34-year-oldSevillanowho has become Europe’s first person with Down syndrome to have obtained a university degree (to this extent, the character reflects in broad strokes the life of university graduate and lead actor Pablo...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Envisioning Autism
    (pp. 34-74)

    Given that cultural products foregrounding disabled protagonists continue to be a relative rarity in Spain—just as elsewhere—it is particularly (and appropriately)¹ intriguing that one of Spain’s most notable graphic artists, Miguel Ángel Gallardo, has written (and drawn) a wonderful comic centered on the theme of autism. Gallardo’s name might ring a bell as he is a well-known figure associated with the Movida Madrileña of the 1980s, an explosion of cultural activity in the wake of the death of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco that gave rise to a range of liberated artistic expressions in music, film, performance art,...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Narrating Childhood Disability
    (pp. 75-116)

    During recent years, the movement that seeks to obtain political rights for disabled people has echoed the advances of other civil and legal battles.¹ In general terms, it has been important to call attention to disability as a form of marginalized subjectivity situated within specific socio-political contexts. Many have underscored a historical legacy through which the population of disabled people has suffered due to harmful institutionalized perceptions. It has thus been important for research on disability to critique the ‘medical model’ of the disabled person, and thus to affirm that he or she is not merely a problem to be...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Documenting Cognitive Disability
    (pp. 117-156)

    While engaging the process of artistic creation at the Creative Growth Art Center (CGAC) in Oakland, California, Judith Scott produced numerous enigmatic three-dimensional fiber and mixed-media sculpture pieces that subsequently received international attention. Approaching Scott’s life and art from the perspective of Disability Studies—once again understood as an expressly political project—takes us beyond the limitations of the label ofArt Brut/Outsider Art and of questions of artistic communication to properly situate her activities at the CGAC as work in both a social and economic sense. Scott’s story—and her representation in a Spanish documentary film by directors Lola...

  9. Epilogue: Exhibiting Art
    (pp. 157-168)

    On March 14, 2011,El Paísran a story titled ‘Familiares y trabajadores protestan por el “cierre salvaje” de tres centros de discapacitados’ [Family Members and Workers Protest the “Savage Closing” of Three Centers for the Disabled] (‘Familiares’). Three hundred and five people were booted out of the centers with less than 24 hours’ notice. Protestors in the Puerta del Sol (and in one of the centers themselves) subsequently called for a re-opening of the centers—which had been allegedly closed because of structural issues—and denounced the lack of government planning and oversight that led to the abrupt closures...

  10. References
    (pp. 169-181)
  11. Index
    (pp. 182-196)