Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Active Citizenship, Liberalism, and Labor-Normativity

Queercrip Resistance, Sanist Anxiety, and Racialized Ableism in Viewer Responses to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2017), 11, (3), 321–338.

Abstract

In liberal, capitalist societies, human worth typically is measured by one’s capacity to contribute to society productively. In other words, it is defined through labor-normativity. From the ADA to feminist calls to remunerate care work, labor-normativity informs the way people and their claims to societal participation are perceived. Building on Erevelles’s theorization of active citizenship and Simplican’s insights into the political anxiety of the capacity contract, the article argues for the centrality of labor-normativity in the reception of family-centered reality television that portrays poor people. Because online commentaries are still neglected sites of meaning-making in cultural studies, the article provides close readings of Facebook comments and blog posts that crip labor-normativity through their reparative readings of the television show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Juxtaposing these with a discussion of other web 2.0 critiques of the show, the article outlines how viewer responses offer insights into the co-constitution of racist, sexist, and disablist labor-normative demands in liberal capitalism. The article advances an analytical praxis that can hold the crip potential of low theory in tension with the importance of understanding the continuing production of sanist anxiety and racialized ableism in popular culture and its subjugated sites of knowledge production.

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Abberley, Paul. “Work, Disability and European Social Theory.” Disability Studies Today. Ed. Colin Barnes, Mike Oliver, and Len Barton. Cambridge: Polity, 2002. 120–37. Print. Work, Disability and European Social Theory Disability Studies Today 120 37 Google Scholar

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Aho, Tanja N. “Reality Television, Critical Regionalism, and Low Theory: Paranoid and Reparative Readings of Representations of Class and Race in the US South.” Critical Regionalism. Ed. Klaus Lösch, Heike Paul, and Meike Zwingenberger. Heidelberg: Winter, 2016. 193–213. Print. Reality Television, Critical Regionalism, and Low Theory: Paranoid and Reparative Readings of Representations of Class and Race in the US South Critical Regionalism 193 213 Google Scholar

Brune, Jeffrey A., and Daniel J. Wilson. Disability and Passing: Blurring the Lines of Identity. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2013. Print. Disability and Passing: Blurring the Lines of Identity Google Scholar

Carey, Allison. On the Margins of Citizenship: Intellectual Disability and Civil Rights in Twentieth-Century America. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2009. Print. On the Margins of Citizenship: Intellectual Disability and Civil Rights in Twentieth-Century America Google Scholar

Cavalcante, Andre. “You Better ‘Redneckognize’! Deploying the Discourses of Realness, Social Defiance, and Happiness to Defend Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on Facebook.” Reality Television: Oddities of Culture. Ed. Alison F. Slade, Amber J. Narro, and Burton P. Buchanan. Lanham: Lexington, 2014. 39–58. Print. You Better ‘Redneckognize’! Deploying the Discourses of Realness, Social Defiance, and Happiness to Defend Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on Facebook Here Comes Honey Boo Boo 39 58 Google Scholar

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Day, Allyson. “Resisting Disability, Claiming HIV: Introducing the Ability Contract and Conceptualizations of Liberal Citizenship.” Canadian Journal of Disability Studies 3.3 (2014): 104–22. Web. 15 Dec. 2015. Resisting Disability, Claiming HIV: Introducing the Ability Contract and Conceptualizations of Liberal Citizenship Canadian Journal of Disability Studies 3.3 104 22 Google Scholar

Dreher, Rod. “Honey Boo Boo Nation.” The American Conservative. 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. Honey Boo Boo Nation The American Conservative Google Scholar

Ellis, Katie. Disability and Popular Culture: Focusing Passion, Creating Community and Expressing Defiance. London: Routledge, 2015. Print. Disability and Popular Culture: Focusing Passion, Creating Community and Expressing Defiance Google Scholar

Ellis, Katie, and Gerard Goggin. Disability and the Media. London: Palgrave, 2015. Print. Disability and the Media Google Scholar

Elman, Julie Passanante. Chronic Youth: Disability, Sexuality, and U.S. Media Cultures of Rehabilitation. New York: New York University Press, 2014. Print. Chronic Youth: Disability, Sexuality, and U.S. Media Cultures of Rehabilitation Google Scholar

Erevelles, Nirmala. Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Enabling a Transformative Body Politic. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print. Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Enabling a Transformative Body Politic Google Scholar

Erevelles, Nirmala. “(Im)Material Citizens: Cognitive Disability, Race, and the Politics of Citizenship.” Foundations of Disability Studies. Ed. Matthew Wappett and Katrina Arndt. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 145–76. Print. (Im)Material Citizens: Cognitive Disability, Race, and the Politics of Citizenship Foundations of Disability Studies 145 76 Google Scholar

Erevelles, Nirmala. “Race and Ethnicity.” Encyclopedia of Disability. Ed. Gary L. Albrecht. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006. 1335–41. Print. Race and Ethnicity Encyclopedia of Disability 1335 41 Google Scholar

Friedman, May. “Here Comes a Lot of Judgment: Honey Boo Boo as a Site of Reclamation and Resistance.” Journal of Popular Television 2.1 (2014): 77–95. Web. 9 Sept. 2014. Here Comes a Lot of Judgment: Honey Boo Boo as a Site of Reclamation and Resistance Honey Boo Boo 2.1 77 95 Google Scholar

Frith, Simon. “Art Ideology and Pop Practice.” Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988. 461–75. Print. Art Ideology and Pop Practice Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture 461 75 Google Scholar

Gill, Michael, and Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, eds. Disability, Human Rights and the Limits of Humanitarianism. Burlington: Ashgate, 2014. Print. Disability, Human Rights and the Limits of Humanitarianism Google Scholar

Hahn, Harlan. “The Politics of Physical Difference: Disability and Discrimination.” Journal of Social Issues 44.1 (1988): 39–47. Web. 5 Aug. 2013. The Politics of Physical Difference: Disability and Discrimination Journal of Social Issues 44.1 39 47 Google Scholar

Hall, Stuart, and Alan O’Shea. “Common-Sense Neoliberalism.” After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto. Ed. Stuart Hall, Doreen Massey, and Michael Rustin. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 2015. 52–68. Print. Common-Sense Neoliberalism After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto 52 68 Google Scholar

Haller, Beth. Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media. Louisville: Advocado Press, 2010. Print. Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media Google Scholar

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. TLC. 2012–14. Television. Google Scholar

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Facebook page. 2012–14. Web. Google Scholar

Hirschmann, Nancy J., and Beth Linker, eds. Civil Disabilities: Citizenship, Membership, and Belonging. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2015. Print. Civil Disabilities: Citizenship, Membership, and Belonging Google Scholar

Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013. Print. Feminist, Queer, Crip Google Scholar

Oulette, Laurie, and James Hay. Better Living through Reality TV: Television and Post-welfare Citizenship. Malden: Blackwell, 2008. Print. Better Living through Reality TV: Television and Post-welfare Citizenship Google Scholar

Parkes, Geoffrey. “‘He’s Gonna Be a Little Gay’: Redneckognising the Queer American Family in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the Implications for Cultural Studies.” Peer Reviewed Proceedings of the 4th Annual Conference, Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (PopCAANZ). Ed. P. Mountfort. Brisbane: PopCAANZ, 2013. 138–46. PDF file. Web. 7 Sept. 2014. ‘He’s Gonna Be a Little Gay’: Redneckognising the Queer American Family in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the Implications for Cultural Studies 138 46 Google Scholar

Rasmussen, Birgit Brander, Eric Klinenberg, Irene J. Nexica, and Matt Wray, eds. The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness. Durham: Duke UP, 2001. Print. The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness Google Scholar

Rembis, Michael. “Athlete First: A Note on Passing, Disability, and Sport.” Disability and Passing: Blurring the Lines of Identity. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2013. 111–41. Print. Athlete First: A Note on Passing, Disability, and Sport Disability and Passing: Blurring the Lines of Identity 111 41 Google Scholar

Rodan, Debbie, Katie Ellis, and Pia Lebeck. Disability, Obesity and Ageing: Popular Media Identifications. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. Print. Disability, Obesity and Ageing: Popular Media Identifications Google Scholar

Russell, Emily. Reading Embodied Citizenship: Disability, Narrative, and the Body Politic. New Brunswick: Rutgers, 2011. Print. Reading Embodied Citizenship: Disability, Narrative, and the Body Politic Google Scholar

Samuels, Ellen J. Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race. New York: New York University Press, 2014. Print. Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race Google Scholar

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Print. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity Google Scholar

Siebers, Tobin. Disability Theory. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008. Print. Disability Theory Google Scholar

Simplican, Stacy Clifford. The Capacity Contract: Intellectual Disability and the Question of Citizenship. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. Print. The Capacity Contract: Intellectual Disability and the Question of Citizenship Google Scholar

Tronto, Joan C. Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York: Routledge, 1993. Print. Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care Google Scholar

Weeks, Kathi. The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011. Print. The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries Google Scholar

Wray, Matt, ed. Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. Print. Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness Google Scholar

Wray, Matt, and Annalee Newitz, eds. White Trash: Race and Class in America. New York: Routledge, 1997. Print. White Trash: Race and Class in America Google Scholar

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Aho, Tanja N.