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Disabled Sexualities: A Theoretical Review of Sociological Approaches and a Call to Problematize the Normative/Non-Normative Dialectic

19 December 2020

Publication Date
19 November 2020

Original Abstract

In the aftermath of the disability rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, a number of disability activists and scholars began calling for increased attention to the sexual lives of people with disabilities. The result has been a wide range of research that has explored both the sexual marginalization and sexual empowerment of disabled people across diverse groups and social contexts. Indeed, while a number of reviews of research on disabled sexualities have already been written, they have either been too narrowly focused on niche topics, or provide such a broad overview of disabled sexuality that they do not adequately discuss the different theoretical perspectives guiding such research. In this paper, I offer more developed articulations of the theoretical perspectives underpinning scholarship on the sexualities of people with disabilities, and call for a “reproblematizing” of the complex dialectical relationship between “normative” and “non-normative” deployments of sexuality that go into acts of “queering” and sexual empowerment amongst disabled people.

Callen, K. (2020). Disabled sexualities: A theoretical review of sociological approaches and a call to problematize the normative/non-normative dialectic. Sexualities. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460720973892

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disability, sexuality, theory, sexual marginalization, sexual empowerment


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