chapter  6
18 Pages

Body Troubles: Women, the Workplace and Negotiations of a Disabled Identity


Throughout the social sciences the influence of cultural studies, feminisms and the challenges of post-modernism and post-structuralism have made space for sustained debate over the nature of human subjectivity, its constitution and its transformations. Difference, identity and the notion of the embodied self are being explored from various disciplinary perspectives, with geography focusing investigation on issues of space and place. The body, too, is attracting attention as the linkages between identity and the experience of specific spaces and places are theorised. Centring the body in inquiry in geography has primarily been through work of feminist geographers interested in the connection between the body and situated knowledges, and geographers concerned with questions of sexuality, but recently the 'deviant' body of disability has also emerged as a focus of investigation (see, for example, Dorn and Laws 1994; Moss and Dyck 1996; Park et al. 1998; Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1997). This work points to the discursive construction of ideas about the body and its abilities, and how dominant representations may be negotiated and contested in the context of particular spaces and places as 'disabled' women construct the meanings and materialities of their everyday geographies.