This book explores multiple metanarratives of disability to introduce and investigate the critical concept of assumed authority and the normative social order from which it derives.

The book comprises 15 chapters developed across three parts and, informed by disability studies, is authored by those with research interests in the condition on which they focus as well as direct or intimate experiential knowledge. When out and about, many disabled people know only too well what it is to be erroneously told the error of our/their ways by non-disabled passers-by, assumed authority often cloaked in helpfulness. Showing that assumed authority is underpinned by a displacement of personal narratives in favour of overarching metanarratives of disability that find currency in a diverse multiplicity of cultural representations – ranging from literature to film, television, advertising, social media, comics, art, and music – this work discusses how this relates to a range of disabilities and chronic conditions, including blindness, autism, Down syndrome, diabetes, cancer, and HIV and AIDS.

Metanarratives of Disability will be of interest to all scholars and students of disability studies, medical sociology, medical humanities, education studies, cultural studies, and health.

'offers a well-structured, accessible collection of disability narratives that foreground disabled voices' Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 16.1 (2022)


part Part I|44 pages

International developments of the foundational concept

chapter 1|13 pages

The metanarrative of blindness in North America

Meaning, feeling, and feel
ByDevon Healey, Rod Michalko

chapter 2|14 pages

The metanarrative of blindness in the global south

A LatDisCrit counterstory to the bittersweet mythology of blindness as giftedness
ByAlexis Padilla

chapter 3|15 pages

The metanarrative of blindness in India

Special education and assumed knowledge cultures
ByHemachandran Karah

part Part II|94 pages

Beyond normative minds and bodies

chapter 4|14 pages

The metanarrative of mental illness

A collaborative autoethnography
ByKatharine Martyn, Annette Thompson

chapter 5|16 pages

The metanarrative of OCD

Deconstructing positive stereotypes in media and popular nomenclature
ByAngela J. Kim

chapter 6|17 pages

The metanarrative of learning disability

Vulnerability, unworthiness, and requiring control
ByOwen Barden, Steven J. Walden

chapter 7|12 pages

The metanarrative of autism

Eternal childhood and the failure of cure
BySonya Freeman Loftis

chapter 8|17 pages

The metanarrative of Down syndrome

Proximity to animality
ByHelen Davies

chapter 9|16 pages

The Metanarrative of Dwarfism

Heightism and Its Social Implications
ByErin Pritchard

part Part III|93 pages

Chronic Conditions and the Emergence of Disability

chapter 10|15 pages

The metanarrative of chronic pain

Culpable, duplicitous, and miserable
ByDanielle Kohfeldt, Gregory Mather

chapter 11|13 pages

The metanarrative of diabetes

Should you be eating that?
ByHeather R. Walker, Bianca C. Frazer

chapter 12|14 pages

The metanarrative of cancer

Disrupting the battle myth
ByNicola Martin

chapter 13|15 pages

The metanarrative of HIV and AIDS

Losing track of an epidemic
ByBrenda Tyrrell

chapter 14|15 pages

The metanarrative of sarcoidosis

Life in liminality
ByDana Combs Leigh

chapter 15|16 pages

The metanarrative of arthritis

Playing and betraying the endgame
ByDavid Bolt

chapter |3 pages


ByClaire Penketh