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Ability Expectation/Ableism glossary


Just a starting point

Ability Studies

Ability studies investigates how ability expectation (want stage) and ableism (need stage) hierarchies and preferences come to pass and the impact of such hierarchies and preferences. [1]. Within it, it allows to investigate eco-ability expectations and eco-ableism that focuses on ecological dynamics of human-human; human-animal and human-environment relationships [2,5].

Ability Studies allows for the study of multiple subject formations, social relationships, and lived experiences based on diverse ability expectations and the actions linked to such expectations. It encourages the study of how legal, ethical/moral, biological, cultural and social constructs are exhibiting ability expectations and how such ability expectations and the actions they trigger leads to an ability based and ability justified understanding of oneself, one’s body and one’s relationship with others of one’s species, other species and one’s environment [1,4]]. Ability studies can be used in inter-, trans- and intra- disciplinarily ways to generate policies and advance the relationship between humans, animals and their environment [1,2,5].

Ability expectation: One likes as an individual or as a social structure to have a certain ability),

Ableism: One perceives as an individual or as a social structure certain ability as essential

Disablism: A given ability expectation or ableism is used by an individual or a social structure to disabled the one without that ability

Active disablism: One actively tries to generate social conditions that disable the one without the ability or where one generates new ability expectations with the expressed purpose to generate a hierarchy between social groups with one being the dominant one. So the primary purpose is to disable one based on the difference in abilities (perceived or real)

Omission or passive disablism: One disables someone else by not accommodating the other individual or social group that does not exhibit the ability due to simply not being aware, not thinking about it (see further down section on ability privilege). The primary purpose was not to generate the disablement due to ability differences (perceived or real) but it’s a side effect of one not wanting or one being unable to accommodate the other (see ability privilege further down).

Passive disablism can become active disablism and vice versa

Where did it start:

The concept of ableism was developed by the disabled people’s rights movement (Various, 2006) to question species-typical, normative body ability expectations and the ability privileges (i.e. ability to work, to gain education, to be part of society, to have an identity, to be seen as citizen) that come with a species-typical body (although they did not use the term ability privilege). Disablism conceptualized within this meaning of ability privilege suggests that people with expected, normative body abilities are not willing to give up their ability privileges” [5] and here

Or in other words

Ableism: A set of beliefs, processes and practices that produce based on ones abilities a particular kind of understanding of oneself, one‟s body and one‟s relationship with others of one‟s species, other species and one‟s environment and includes one being judged by others.

Or in other words

Ableism privileges „species-typical abilities‟ while labelling „sub species-typical abilities‟ as deficient, as impaired and undesirable often with the accompanying disablism the discriminatory oppressive, or abusive behaviour against the sub species-typical people [5] and here.

Moving beyond disabled people

Ableism exhibits in general a favouritism for certain abilities that are projected as essential while at the same time labelling real or perceived deviation from or lack of these essential abilities as problematic leading or contributing to the justification of a variety of other isms such as sexism, racism, castism, Age-ism and so forth [1, 4].

Here the claim is not about species-typical versus sub species-typical, but that one has – as a species or a social group- superior abilities compared to other species or other segments in ones species.

Moving beyond the body

Ableism exhibits in general a favouritism for certain abilities that are projected as essential for certai humans to exhibit while at the same time labelling real or perceived deviation from or lack of these essential abilities as problematic leading or contributing to the justification of a variety of other isms such as GDP-ism, consumer-ism, productivity-ism, competitiveness-ism  and so forth [1, 4, 5] and here.

Moving to the inclusion of human-animal and human-nature relationships

Eco-ableism is a conceptual framework for analysing enabling and disabling human ability desires, a class of desires that shape the relationship between humans, between humans and animals and humans and their environment [2, 5, 6]

Moving beyond the species-sub-species typical

Human related: A set of beliefs, processes and practices that perceive the improvement of human body abilities beyond homo sapiens typical boundaries (species-typical and sub species-typical) as essential. This enhancement version of ableism, sees all human bodies as limited, defective and in need of constant improvement of their abilities beyond homo sapiens -typical boundaries. The  body ability enhancement can be of three types a) external by shaping the environment, b) internal reversal by modifying bodily structures in an reversible fashion and c) internal non-reversal by modifying bodily structures in a non-reversible fashion.

Animal related: A set of beliefs, processes and practices which champions the especially cognitive enhancement of animal species beyond species typical boundaries leading to cognitive or otherwise “enabled species‟.

Environment related: A set of beliefs, processes and practices which champions the a) enhancement of especially the Homo sapiens beyond species typical boundaries to cope with the environmental challenges to come b) shaping the environment (geo-engineering, gated biospheres…)

Moving beyond the negative aspect of Ability Expectation and Ableism

Exhibition of ability expectations or ableism’s can also have positive consequences(enablement/enablism)[7] and here; ones desire to have the ability to live in an equitable society, some see the concept of sustainable development as positive step in what humans expect ability wise from nature…

All of the above fits with these three terms

Ability expectation: One likes as an individual or as a social structure to have a certain ability),

Ableism: One perceives as an individual or as a social structure certain ability as essential

Disablism: A given ability expectation or ableism is used by an individual or a social structure to disabled the one without that ability

Active disablism: One actively tries to generate social conditions that disable the one without the ability or where one generates new ability expectations with the expressed purpose to generate a hierarchy between social groups with one being the dominant one. So the primary purpose is to disable one based on the difference in abilities (perceived or real)

Omission or passive disablism: One disables someone else by not accommodating the other individual or social group that does not exhibit the ability due to simply not being aware, not thinking about it (see further down section on ability privilege). The primary purpose was not to generate the disablement due to ability differences (perceived or real) but it’s a side effect of one not wanting or one being unable to accommodate the other (see ability privilege further down).

Passive disablism can become active disablism and vice versa

Some Ability Studies concepts

 Ethics of Ableism/Ableism Ethics is a framework of standards and values that (a) guide beliefs, processes and practices that produces based on ones abilities a particular kind of understanding of oneself, one’s body and one’s relationship with others of one’s species, other species and one’s environment and includes one being judged by others; (b) guide the favouritism for certain abilities and how one decide which abilities to favour over others; (c) guide the reactions towards humans and other biological entities that are seen -real or perceived- to lack these essential abilities. whatever set of abilities one has, and that one will not be forced to have a prescribed set of abilities to live a secure life. [1, 2, 8]

Ability Security        

that one is accepted, and is able to live one’s life with whatever set of abilities one has, and that one will not be forced to have a prescribed set of abilities to live a secure life [2].

Governance of ability expectations / Ability expectation Governance

is about how we govern ability expectations and ableism, the favouritism for certain abilities and the reaction towards non favoured abilities (for example [9-10].

“Ability expectation literacy” means people understand the consequences of ability expectations. “Ability expectation governance” focuses on how to navigate the societal aspects of ability expectations. see here

“Ability discrimination,” meaning that one is oppressed because their ability is different see here.

Ability expectation oppression: Being oppressed by ability expectations of others [11] see linkage to colonial theory [11] see also here and here

Ability-expectation creep,” meaning that we seem to constantly expect more abilities see also here

Ability Privilege

Ability privilege describes the advantages enjoyed by those who exhibit certain abilities and the unwillingness of these individuals to relinquish the advantage linked to the abilities especially with the reason that these are earned or birth given (natural) abilities. To link it back to disabled people as the originator of the term ableism. The concept of ableism was developed to question the ability privileges (i.e. ability to work, to gain education, to be part of society, to have an identity, to be seen as citizen) that come with a species-typical body (although they did not use the term ability privilege)[5] and here. Disablism conceptualized within this meaning of ability privilege suggests that people with expected, normative body abilities are not willing to give up their ability privileges [5] and here. The cultural phenomenon of Ability privileges, however, can be employed beyond the social group of disabled people and their encounter with the ‘ability normative’ body.

Ability privileges can play themselves out between traditionally defined social groups (e.g. race, gender, class). However at the same time social groups are also formed based on ability privileges whereby the social group is defined by whether its members have or don’t have a given ability (the ability-have and the ability-non-have social groups). Ability privilege  also influences how one relates to nature and to animals and shapes one identity [5]  and here

Ability Inequity and inequality from [3]

 For both, ability inequity and ability inequality two subgroups exist. One group is linked to intrinsic bodily abilities and the other group is linked to external abilities, abilities generated by human interventions that impact humans. These two subgroups of internal and external ability inequities and inequality are quite distinct in their effects and discourse dynamics, involved stakeholders and goals.

Definition: Ability inequality is a descriptive term denoting any uneven distribution of access to and protection from abilities generated through human interventions, right or wrong

Example: Lack of access to education employment….  Ability inequalities also are experienced by so called body normative people. Eating certain food leads to better abilities, but not everyone has access to this food. Clean water leads to better abilities, but not everyone has access to it.

Definition: Ability inequality is a descriptive term denoting any uneven judgment of abilities intrinsic to biological structures such as the human body, right or wrong

Example: Negative judgments of people who ‘lack’ certain ‘normative’ intrinsic set of body related abilities as defective (e.g. not hearing as impairment person versus ability diverse person), at the same time people do not define themselves as defective because they cannot fly; or less payment for the same amount of work for women versus men….

 

Definition: Ability inequity is a normative term denoting an unjust or unfair distribution of access to and protection from abilities generated through human interventions

Example: One could say that one of the purposes of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  was to highlight which ability inequities are unjust and to prescribe some remedies for them

Definition: Ability inequity is a normative term denoting an unjust or unfair judgment of abilities intrinsic to biological structures such as the human body

.Negative judgment linked to the abilities or perceived lack thereof of disabled people or women are judged unfairly with their abilities in work payments.

 

[1] Wolbring, G., Why NBIC?  Why Human Performance Enhancement? Innovation; The European Journal of Social Science Research 2008, 21 (1), 25-40

[2] Wolbring, G., Ecohealth through an ability studies and disability studies lens In Ecological Health: Society, Ecology and Health, Gislason, M. K., Ed. Emerald: London, UK, 2013; Vol. 15, pp 91-107

[3] Wolbring, G., Ableism and Favoritism for Abilities Governance, Ethics and Studies: New Tools for Nanoscale and Nanoscale enabled Science and Technology Governance. In The Yearbook of Nanotechnology in Society, vol. II: The Challenges of Equity and Equality, Cozzens, S.; M.Wetmore, J., Eds. Springer: New York, 2010; pp 89-104.

[4]  Wolbring, G., The Politics of Ableism. Development 2008, 51 (2), 252-258.

 

[5] Wolbring, G., Ability Privilege: A Needed Addition to Privilege Studies. Journal for Critical Animal Studies 2014, 13 (2). P.118-141  http://www.crds.org/research/faculty/icasjustmine.pdf

[6] Wolbring, G., Eco-ableism. Anthropology News 2012, Sept. 14.

 

[7] Wolbring, G., & Yumakulov, S. (2015). Education through an Ability Studies Lens.

Zeitschrift für Inklusion, 10(2), no page number. Retrieved from: http://www.inklusion

online.net/index.php/inklusion-online/article/view/278/261

 

[8] Wolbring, G., Ethical Theories and Discourses through an Ability Expectations and Ableism

Lens: The Case of Enhancement and Global Regulation. Asian Bioethics Review 2012, 4 (4),

293-309

 

[9] Wolbring, G., & Diep, L. (2016). Cognitive/Neuroenhancement through an Ability Studies lens. In F. Jotterand & V. Dubljevic (Eds.), Cognitive Enhancement (pp. 57-75). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press

[10] Wolbring, G (2015) Human Enhancement verlangt die Auseinandersetzung mit Fähigkeitserwartungen in special issue “Schwerpunkt// Der optimierte Mensch in «Soziale Sicherheit CHSS» Social Security, Journal of the Federal Social Insurance Office, Switzerland Vol 16, Issue 1, p 16-19  http://www.bsv.admin.ch/dokumentation/publikationen/00096/03361/03362/index.html?lang=de The French version of full journal issue is  http://www.bsv.admin.ch/dokumentation/publikationen/00096/03361/03362/index.html?lang=fr  The English version Human Enhancement: The need for Ability Expectation Governance available upon request

[11] Wolbring, G., & Ghai, A. (2015). Interrogating the impact of scientific and technological development on disabled children in India and beyond. Disability and the Global South, 2(2), 667-685.

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