Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Personal or Political?

Representations of Disability in Contemporary French Fiction

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2012), 6, (3), 307–325.

Abstract

The article begins by examining recent changes in disability legislation in France, changes spearheaded, over the last decade, by the work of Julia Kristeva, who suggests that France is finally moving toward a social model of disability. Focusing on two novels—Luc Leprêtre's Club VIP: Very Invalid Person (2009) and Arnauld Pontier's Equinoxe (2006)—the article explores whether an awareness of these changes can also be discerned in contemporary French fiction. Using the recent work of Kristeva, but also that of Tom Shakespeare, Lennard Davis, and Tobin Siebers, the article explores whether it is useful to conceive of either political change or attitudinal shift in terms of "progress" from a medical to a social model, and suggests that while both writers interrogate normative perceptions of disability, they do so in more complex and nuanced ways than might initially be expected.

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Blisson, Cathy., "Elephant People: Opéra Pop." Telerama 3034. 8 March 2008. Web. 18 April 2012. Elephant People: Opéra Pop Telerama 3034 Google Scholar

Censier, Delphine., Elle, Moi, une Autre: "Gagner la vie" ou la reconquěte d'une histoire perdue d'avance. Lausanne/Paris: Editions Favre, 2005. Print. Elle, Moi, une Autre: "Gagner la vie" ou la reconquěte d'une histoire perdue d'avance Google Scholar

Censier, Delphine., "Elle, Moi, une Autre." DelphineCensier. 5 February 2008. Web. 6 June 2012. Elle, Moi, une Autre DelphineCensier Google Scholar

Conseil National Handicap. "Qui Sommes-Nous?" Conseil National Handicap. n.d. Web. 25 April 2012. Google Scholar

Davis, Lennard J., Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism and Other Difficult Positions. New York: New York UP, 2002. Print. Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism and Other Difficult Positions Google Scholar

Diderot, Denis., "Lettre sur les aveugles à l'usage de ceux qui voient [Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See]." 1749. Oeuvres vol 5. Ed. Laurent Versini. Paris: Bousquins, 1994. Print. Oeuvres vol 5 Google Scholar

"Discours de Nicolas Sarkozy, conference nationale handicap." Daily Motion. 10 June 2008. Web. 18 April 2012. Google Scholar

Elkaïm, Kerenn., "Braises en chaise." Le Vif-L'Express 10. Arnauld Pontier. 10-16 March 2006. Web. 31 May 2012. Braises en chaise Le Vif-L'Express 10. Arnauld Pontier Google Scholar

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Finger, Anne., "Forbidden Fruit." New Internationalist 233 (1992): 8-10. Print. Forbidden Fruit New Internationalist 233 8 10 Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie, ed. Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York: New York UP, 1996. Print. Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body Google Scholar

Haigh, Sam., "‘Changer le regard?’ Disability and Difference in the Photography of Delphine Censier." Modern & Contemporary France 18.3 (2010): 291-308. Print. ‘Changer le regard?’ Disability and Difference in the Photography of Delphine Censier Modern & Contemporary France 18 291 308 Google Scholar

Hevey, David., The Creature Time Forgot: Photography and Disability Imagery. New York: Routledge, 1992. Print. The Creature Time Forgot: Photography and Disability Imagery Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia., Lettre au Président de la République sur les citoyens en situation de handicap, à l'usage de ceux qui le sont et de ceux qui ne le sont pas. Paris: Fayard, 2003. Print. Lettre au Président de la République sur les citoyens en situation de handicap, à l'usage de ceux qui le sont et de ceux qui ne le sont pas Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia., "Liberté, égalité, fraternité et…vulnérabilité." La Haine et le pardon: Pouvoirs et limites de la psychanalyse III. Paris: Fayard, 2005. 95-118. Print. La Haine et le pardon: Pouvoirs et limites de la psychanalyse III 95 118 Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia., "Handicap, différence et société." Universite de Lyon. 1-12. 21 November 2006. Web. 1 May 2007. Handicap, différence et société Universite de Lyon 1-12 Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia., "L'humanisme ne sait pas accompagner la mortalité." Le Monde (Paris). 30 April 2011. 22. Print. L'humanisme ne sait pas accompagner la mortalité Le Monde (Paris) 22 Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia, and Charles Gardou. Handicap: Le Temps des engagements. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2006. Print. Handicap: Le Temps des engagements Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia, and Jean Vanier. Leur Regard perce nos ombres. Paris: Fayard, 2011. Print. Leur Regard perce nos ombres Google Scholar

Le Ferrand, Catherine., "Équinoxe." A Voir à Lire. 28 March 2006. Web. 23 March 2010. Équinoxe A Voir à Lire Google Scholar

Leprětre, Luc., Club VIP: Very Invalid Person. Paris: Editions Anne Carrière, 2009. Print. Club VIP: Very Invalid Person Google Scholar

Leprětre, Luc., "Montrer le handicap sans susciter de misérabilisme." Var-Matin. 26 May 2009. Web. 24 February 2010. Montrer le handicap sans susciter de misérabilisme Var-Matin Google Scholar

Majumdar, Margaret., Postcoloniality: The French Dimension. Oxford: Berghan, 2007. Print. Postcoloniality: The French Dimension Google Scholar

Pontier, Arnauld., Équinoxe. Paris: Actes Sud, 2006. Print. Équinoxe Google Scholar

Shakespeare, Tom., Disability Rights and Wrongs. New York and London: Routledge, 2006. Print. Disability Rights and Wrongs Google Scholar

Shakespeare, Tom, Kath Gillespie-Sells, and Dominic Davies., The Sexual Politics of Disability: Untold Desires. London: Cassell, 1996. Print. The Sexual Politics of Disability: Untold Desires Google Scholar

Siebers, Tobin., Disability Theory. Ann Arbor: Michigan UP, 2008. Print. Disability Theory Google Scholar

Soublin, Jean., "Les handicapés, ces privilégiés…" Le Monde. 17 July 2009. Web. 23 March 2010. Les handicapés, ces privilégiés… Le Monde Google Scholar

Stiker, Henri-Jacques., Corps infirmes et sociétés: Essais d'anthropologie historique. Third edn. Paris: Dunod, 2005. First published Paris: Editions Aubier Montaigne, 1982. Print. Corps infirmes et sociétés: Essais d'anthropologie historique Google Scholar

Stiker, Henri-Jacques., A History of Disability. Trans. William Sayers. Ann Arbor: Michigan UP, 2000. Print. A History of Disability Google Scholar

Wallach Scott, Joan., Parité! Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism. Chicago: Chicago UP, 2005. Print. Parité! Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism Google Scholar

Wendell, Susan., The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability. New York and London: Routledge, 1996. Print. The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability Google Scholar

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Haigh, Samantha