Disability and Shame
Shame plays a powerful role in social interactions, beliefs, and institutions. Shame and shaming take varied and quite diversely motivated forms. Shame exists as both a cultural and psychological construct, stimuli for and reactions to which are heavily context-dependent. For much of history and across varied cultural contexts, disability provoked shame. Whether understood as the result of personal failings, sins of a family, misapplication of scientific findings, or empirical evidence of an unhappy deity, experiencing disability involved largely unquestioned shaming. During the last decades of the twentieth century, progress much attributed to disability rights movements finally created expanding space between disability and shame.
Yet, shame remains a powerful and often-accepted tool of social control, an incorporated pillar of our social infrastructures along with cultural norms, popular culture, and public policy. For example, in September 2016, Satoshi Uematsu killed 19 patients at a center for disabled people outside Tokyo. In the aftermath, many family members of the deceased declined to speak to the media and asked not to be identified out of shame that others would know that their family members had a disability (Ha & Sieg, 2016). Such a tragic outcome in Japan in response to fear of disgrace signifies a decided need to examine the role of personal and societal shame and how it affects the lives of people with disability1.
This Call for Papers proposes a forum on the subject of shame and disability, broadly conceived. It is hoped that through critical discourse addressing the historical and current contexts, contributing factors, effects, and responses to shame, greater understanding of this phenomena will diminish discrimination and violence.
Topics to be explored (suggested, but not limited to):
Shame, disability, identity
Labelling and shame
Shame and relationships
Shame and dependency/interdependency
Shame and culture
Shame and access to public programs
Historical connection between disability and poverty
Diversity and shame
Intersectional approaches to understanding shame
Shame and employment
Societal and family shame resulting in violence against disabled people
Previous editorial experience:
John Y. Jones has expertise in disability policy with an emphasis on special education policy, eugenics, and the history of special education. He has served as a reviewer for American Educational Research Association, the History of Education Society, and the American Library Association. He was invited to create this call for papers by the editorial staff of the Review of Disability Studies.
Dana Lee Baker has expertise in disability policy, with emphases on neurodiversity, neuroethics, and autism. Dana brings considerable experience as a peer reviewer from a number of scholarly journals such as The Social Science Journal, Journal of Public Affairs Education, Journal of Public Policy Analysis and Management, Social Problems, Educational Policy Journal, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Emotion, Space, and Society. Dana is has also served as an ad-hoc reviewer for the National Science Foundation and for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Dana edited a two-volume book series entitled Disability and U.S. Politics: Participation, Policy, and Controversy, published in 2017.
Stephanie Patterson has expertise in the field of disability and employment as a result of integrated experiences in higher education, disability services, career services, human resources, and labor relations. Some of her research endeavors include co-editing a Special Forum on Disability and Employment in the Review of Disability Studies that highlighted her article entitled, “A Historical Overview of the History of Disability and Employment in the United States (1600-1950).” In 2014, she published a book chapter, “Working 9 to 5… or Not: Historical Origins of Disability Discrimination in the U.S. Workplace” for Piraeus Books. She recently co-authored an article on the intersections of Disability Studies and Health Science.
Call for Papers within disability studies as well as education, the social sciences, human development, social work, child, youth and family studies, feminist, gender and sexuality studies, and critical race studies, among others. Authors will be referred to the journal’s Author Guidelines to assure submission quality and consistency.
We expect that the work solicited for this Call will appeal to scholars of mental health, anthropology, queer and gender studies, education, and child studies, among others. Disability Studies is a broad topic and we anticipate that interest in this field will be equally extensive.
Submissions to this special issue will undergo a process of peer-review. Authors will be notified of whether their papers will be invited for consideration in the forum by June 2018. Final manuscripts are due January 1, 2018. Prospective authors are encouraged to consult the RDS website at www.rds.hawaii.edu for more information about the journal and its formatting guidelines. Authors are encouraged to review previous issues of RDS in preparing their paper and to subscribe to the journal. Please note that acceptance of an abstract or initial acceptance of an article does not guarantee publication in RDS. RDS is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, international journal published by the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. The journal contains research articles, essays, creative works and multimedia relating to the culture of disability and people with disability.
We look forward to receiving your submissions. If you have any questions, please contact
John Y. Jones, Ph.D.
Truman State University
Dana Lee Baker, PhD
Washington State University
Stephanie Patterson, MA/LS
Stony Brook University
Ha, K & Sieg, L. (2016). Japan confronts disability stigma after silence over murder victims’ names. Reuters. Retrieved from: http://in.reuters.com/article/japan-disabled-idINKCN11M0AA
Manessis, S. (2014). Disability – from shame to acceptance: a Gestalt Perspective. Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 11, pp. 52-61.
Tomkins, S. (1963). Affect, imagery and consciousness: The negative effects (Vol. 2). New York: Springer.
1 The terms “disabled people” and “people with disability” will be interchanged throughout this Special Forum out of respect for both schools of thought on appropriate language. The term “people with disability (singular)” will be used instead of “people with disabilities (plural)” to acknowledge the fact that disability is an experience. Use of the plural form focuses on specific diagnoses rather than seeing being disabled as a state of being. (This terminology was originated by Dr. Devva Kasnitz, Professor of Professional Studies, City University of New York.)