The Clean and Proper Body: Genetics, Stigma and Disability Discrimination Law

Lexis Nexis Butterworths
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Human Rights, 2009, 14 (2), pp. 139 - 162
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The dividing line between the stigmatised and normalised, `clean and proper, body is integral to law. Disability discrimination laws, even as they set out to offer protection to those defined as disabled, entrench the division between normalised self and stigmatised other, projecting onto the `disabled body those abject qualities of incapacity or vulnerability that the privileged normalised body seeks to deny. This seemingly static relationship, however, has the potential to be transformed by the disruptive qualities of the new genetics. Genetic technologies create novel forms of abjection, revealing all bodies as flawed and undermining the fantasy of the clean and proper body. This allows for the possibility of a new approach to disability discrimination laws, based on a more ethical relationship between the normalised and stigmatised body
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