Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Book Reviews

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2018), 12, (3), 379–386.

Abstract

Book Reviews Book Reviews Robert McRuer, Crip Times. Disability, Globalisation, and Resistance. New York: New York UP, 2018. Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4798-7415-6. $30. 320pp. Owen Barden Liverpool Hope University Despite what one might assume from the title (and indeed deduce from the deliberate invocations of Dickens’s Hard Times and the British Marxist New Times movement contained therein), Crip Times is an optimistic book. It is not an easy or naïve optimism, and McRuer is explicit that, following Foucault, this optimism should not be conflated with hope, since hope imperils activism. He argues instead for a Gramscian optimism of the will that should always keep us “pointing towards the possibilities for new connections and coalitions” that aspirate and “conjure up” a world beyond austerity (233). Aspiration is one of the keywords McRuer uses to underpin the four main chapters of the book. He wants to reclaim, reappropriate, or perhaps re-signify aspiration from its neoliberal codification as “an individualist libertarian concept organised around personal achievement and merit” (176), with property (home) ownership as its apogee, to a crip rendering. Crip Aspiration calls for collective resistance to the depredations of austerity; for people to work together to improve their communities, and is summed up by a kind of mini-manifesto that concludes the main body of the book: “attend to those who are not you, to those who are different from you (different embodiments, different minds, different behaviours), and attempt in that interdependent attending to apprehend the web of social relations in which we are currently located […] and that can (of course) be changed” (217). This “working together,” or willingness to combine, is fundamental to the texture of the book in significant ways beyond optimism, academic interdisciplinarity, and calls for activism. One of the words that appears frequently throughout the book is valence. The literal meaning of valence, as I learned in my school Chemistry, is the combining capacity of an atom. McRuer regularly undertakes etymological excursions during his expositions, and in this spirit I note that valence has its roots in the Latin valentia meaning strength or capacity. So in one sense, the recurring use of the word valence continually implies strength in togetherness. Continuing with Chemistry for a moment, though, suggests another kind of significance for this term. “Valence electrons” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 12.3 (2018) ISSN 1757-6458 (print) 1757-6466 (online) © Liverpool University Press https://doi.org/10.3828/jlcds.2018.30

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Baynton, Douglas. Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign against Sign Language. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1996. Print. Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign against Sign Language Google Scholar

McRuer, Robert. Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance. New York: New York UP, 2018. Print. Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance Google Scholar

Puar, Jasbir K. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Crip Times. Durham: Duke UP, 2007. Print. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Crip Times Google Scholar

Schweik, Susan M. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public. New York: New York UP, 2009. Print. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public Google Scholar

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Barden, Owen

McRuer, Robert