Deficiência e Alteridade Epistêmica

Ministrada por Patrice Schuch
Semestre 2019-2 – Calendário: Palestra de abertura dia 15/07, às 16h e aulas nos dias 16 a 18/07, das 9:30 até às12:30h. Local: Sala 102 (LABFIN) da Escola de Administração – Rua Washington Luiz, n° 855, Centro Histórico, Porto Alegre/RS


Estudo de temas antropológicos contemporâneos. Pesquisas inovadoras na área de antropologia. Aprofundamento de questões antropológicas clássicas e atuais.


O objetivo do curso é problematizar os conceitos de corpo e mente, as formas de comunicação e linguagem, a problemática da deficiência e do esporte e as questões em torno das epistemologias inacessíveis na academia.


Sahra Gibbon (University College London), Kelly Robinson (University College London), com organização do curso de Patrice Schuch e equipe do projeto “Living with Disability”, realizado em colaboração entre a University College London e o Programa de Pós-Graduação em Antropologia Social UFRGS.

Hourly Schedule

15/07/2019 (Monday)

16:00 - 18:00
Aula aberta – Palestra com Sahra Gibbon e Kelly Robinson
Sala 102 (LABFIN) da Escola de Administração - Rua Washington Luiz, n° 855, Centro Histórico, Porto Alegre/RS

16/07/2019 (Tuesday)

9:30 - 12:30
Kelly Robinson - Destablising ‘normal’ concepts of body and mind
Sensation, we are told, is “the most confused notion there is… for having accepted it, classical analyses have missed the phenomenon of perception” (Merleau-Ponty 2012:25). Despite this, ‘sense’ as it is experienced in everyday contexts in the UK remains largely unquestioned, and is widely accepted as a universal category.

Anthropological engagement in sense and the body, as Scheper-Hughes & Lock famously argued, can be seen as invisibly but normatively contrived, symptomatic of the culture in which they are analysed, rather than in the body-subject itself: “These same conceptions also influence ways in which health care is planned and delivered in Western societies” (1987:6). The emphasis of this session is to problematize and question seemingly standard interventions in the body – specifically prenatal genetic diagnosis (PGD) during IVF, and cochlear implantation at various stages of life in deaf persons. The aim is to uncover the nuances involved in such a profound bodily change, addressing both the clinical rhetoric around ‘cure’ as well as why some deaf people refer to such measures as ‘colonisation of the mind’ (Ladd 2002).

Prep Provocation: Using the readings as foundation, think through and write a brief question/reflection on the different ways that humans define and delimit bodies, difference, and notions of 'normal'. What is the value of such distinctions? Each participant will present their question and comment to contribute to further discussion.


Scheper‐Hughes, Nancy, and Margaret M. Lock. "The mindful body: A prolegomenon to future work in medical anthropology." Medical anthropology quarterly 1, no. 1 (1987): 6-41

Mauldin, Laura. "Precarious plasticity: Neuropolitics, cochlear implants, and the redefinition of deafness." Science, Technology, & Human Values 39, no. 1 (2014): 130-153.

“This couple want a deaf child. Should we try to stop them?” (

17/07/2019 (Wednesday)

9:30 - 12:30
Kelly Robinson - Forms that flatten: reduction in institutional communications
Leading on from the previous week’s engagement in the nuances and ethics of bodily interventions, this week focuses on the role of communication in encounters between people who have been classed as ‘vulnerable’, and those determining eligibility for welfare support. What role does language play? How do various relationships between the vulnerable person and others become central to evidence required by welfare services? Can the person be flattened and even erased in efforts to capture their level of need?


Kelly Fagan Robinson “The Form that Flattens” in Parkhurst, Aaron and TimothyCarroll, eds. Medical Materialities: Toward a Material Culture of Medical Anthropology. Routledge, 2019b.

Blommaert, Jan, Mike Baynham, Anna De Fina, Diana Eades, Marco Jacquemet, Alexandra Jaffe, Katrijn Maryns et al. "Language, asylum, and the national order." Current anthropology 50, no. 4 (2009): 415-441.

Prep Provocation: Using these readings as a starting point, think through the ways that different forms of language are valued within health and wellbeing discourses. How do these compare to discourses on language and migration? Choose a recent news story and prepare a brief provocation on a current event and the concerns raised in these articles.

18/07/2019 (Thursday)

9:30 - 12:30
Sahra Gibbon - Disability (in) Sport: empowerment, bodies, technologies and the reframing/reproducing of impairment?
In this class we will turn to examine the terrain of disability and sport, an increasingly visible public arena in which the cultural parameters of defining and engaging disability are being negotiated, contested and reproduced, but which nonetheless remains relatively under examined both by anthropology and disability studies. We will explore the history and development of disability sport, how hierarchies of ‘impairment’ are central to a system of classification and how technology increasingly informs these hierarchies implicitly and explicitly. We will consider questions of embodiment and ‘cyborgification’ and how and without consequences the increased media visibility of events such as the Paralympics brings specific narrative framings about disability to the fore.


Andrew Sparkes, James Brighton, and Kay Inckle. ‘Imperfect Perfection and Wheelchair Bodybuilding: Challenging Ableism or Reproducing Normalcy?’ Sociology Vol 52 No 6: (2018) 1307-1323

David P Howe ‘ Cyborg and Supercrip: The Paralympics Technology and the (Dis)empowerment of Disabled Athletes Sociology 45 No 5: (2011) 868-882

Emma Pullen, Daniel Jackson, Michael Silk and Richard Scullion ‘ Re-presenting the Paralympics: contested philosophies, production practices and the hypervisibility of disability. Media, Culture and Society Vol 41 No 4 (2019) 465-481

Prep Provocation: Using these readings as starting point think about how and in what ways that disability in sport challenges, reframes or reproduces a medical model of disability? How useful is the notion of ‘cyborgification’ in thinking about the role of technology in disability sport? With respect to the ‘mediatisation’ of the Paralympics find and bring to the class at least one media clip/images/discussion of Rio Paralympics 2016 to think through the question of ‘hypervisibilty’ raised in Pullen article. A key question here is the extent to which the ‘supercrip’ narrative is ‘an emancipatory device for achieving progressive social change’? (Pullen et al 2019)

19/07/2019 (Friday)

9:30 - 12:30
Kelly Robinson - Building up Bias: the problem of inaccessible epistemologies in the academy
This seminar will look specifically at academic institutions, particularly at the ways that academic knowledge is constructed, mapping the process of developing knowledge from the field towards publication. It problematises the paradoxical position that ‘publish or perish’ presents when juxtaposed with the need to be accessible to varied participants and audiences, particularly as regards disability. It will examine the ways that academic knowledge-making builds and upholds the strictures of English-text dominance.

This session will chart the various stages of ethnographic development, including: field research and documentation; the cutting, curating and consolidation of data; fitting pre-set moulds in order to present at conferences; and the extensive editing and reshaping that occurs during publication through peer review. It will also look at different ways that anthropologists and other social scientists are striving to craft understanding in alternate and innovative ways. From photovoice to co-constructed narrative to film, many colleagues are already using non-textual forms of ethnographic practice with the intent to remake knowledge itself as an accessible and inclusive domain, rather than retrospective reshaping of inaccessible knowledge.


Carel, Havi, and Ian James Kidd. "Epistemic injustice in healthcare: a philosophial analysis." Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 17, no. 4 (2014): 529-540.

Walrath, Dana. Aliceheimer's: Alzheimer's through the Looking Glass. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013.

Prep Provocation: Using these readings as a starting point, consider the role that communication resources play in determining experiences of health, social standing, and equality. Read the attached case study and think through the questions it raises


15 July, 2019 - 19 July, 2019


9:30 am - 12:30 pm


Sala 102 (LABFIN) da Escola de Administração UFRGS
Sala 102 (LABFIN) - Escola de Administração UFRGS, Rua Washington Luiz, 855 - Centro Histórico, Porto Alegre - RS, 90010-460
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