Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Tropes of Dis/Ableism as Flexible Stigma: Examining Brenda Connors' 2008 Report as an Instance of Dis/Ableist Polemical Rhetoric
by Fletcher, Brandon, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 102; 10263195
Abstract (Summary)

Within political discourse, tropes of ability and disability are rhetorically applied in a way that stigmatizes particular individuals or groups by associating the targets of such rhetoric with preexisting normative perspectives framing able-bodiedness as valuable, and disability as undesirable. By analyzing Brenda Connors’ diagnosis of Putin as having Asperger’s syndrome, I argue the language used in her Pentagon funded report constitutes a form of dis/ableist polemical rhetoric. Incorporating Michel Foucault’s scholarship concerning biopolitics, governmentality, and madness, as well as relevant critical disability studies scholarship, I outline how an instance of polemical discourse can invoke disablist and ablest discourses for polemical rhetoric. Ultimately, I argue that dis/ableist polemical rhetoric outlines the role that categories of ability and disability play in international relations and domestic political discourse, which I suggest has important theoretical implications for political communication, critical disability studies, and Foucault scholarship.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Heyse, Amy
Commitee: Asenas, Jennifer, Johnson, Kevin
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 56/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, International Relations, Rhetoric
Keywords: Disability, Foucault, International relations, Polemic, Political theory, Rhetoric
Publication Number: 10263195
ISBN: 9780355066425
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