chapter  2
22 Pages

The Life of the Body

The Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA’s) functional definition of disability opens many doors of opportunity for persons with disabilities without being indebted to identity politics. A functional definition of disability takes into account people-their individuality-in terms of their physicality or flesh and blood. To make a reference to the body, however, is not to say much. For the last 30 years, books have been lining library shelves about the consuming body, the flexible body, the tremulous body, the rejected body, the leaky body, the phenomenological body, and the hyper-real body. It was Michel Foucault who proposed the idea that the body could be viewed as a discursive practice.1 As a result, medical sociologist Simon Williams writes, ‘‘A panoply of bodies now litter the field.’’2