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Download Blind People: The Private and Public Life of Sightless by Shlomo A. Deshen PDF

By Shlomo A. Deshen

Blind humans ways incapacity from a clean viewpoint: individuals with an strange physique are conceived of relativistically as a version of humanity, a lot the way in which anthropology methods humans of other tradition. whereas deeply empathic to its material, Blind humans increases questions that anthropologists ask commonly, yet that are in general kept away from in daily life simply because they contact on delicate issues. according to fieldwork in Israel, the booklet constitutes an ethnography of blind Israelis. It begins through targeting intimate problems with the administration of the sightless physique, is going directly to speak about the position of the blind individual within the family atmosphere, and strikes to problems with how the blind individual strives to achieve fabric standards. ultimately, the publication relates the best way blind humans focus on difficulties of associating with either blind and sighted humans in arenas of rest job and public affairs. Deshen’s ebook goals to give a honest, dignified, totally human depiction, within the culture of socio-cultural anthropology.

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Sample text

The purpose of this monograph is to fill a lacuna in ethnographic coverage, the study of people who differ from most humans by having exceptional bodies, and whose culture usually disempowers them. " In this study I adopt an intellectual stance that requires some courage: blindness is viewed dispassionately, as an interesting fact of life. Despite the fact that socio-anthropological interest in disability is recent, there does exist a steadily growing body of literature. Several of the major disabling conditions have now been described by pioneering students who opened the field.

Thus, in popular culture, delimited sightlessness becomes "blindness". That familiar term conveys much more than a particular condition of physical disability. It carries, in addition, a rich content of attributesbeliefs, prejudices, fearsthat culture has associated with sightlessness in many (perhaps most) times and places. The peculiarity of the symbolic elaboration of sightlessness is not unique to that condition. Such conceptual elaboration of the environment in which humans live is a fundamental element of the cultural process, and lies at the root of belief and social order.

The ensuing accounts should then be evaluated critically in the context of that personal background. There is no reason why a sighted researcher could not penetrate into the lives of blind people, just as a New York anthropologist can penetrate and uncover the nature of life in a Berber village, or of Harvard Business School alumni for that matter. Similar to conventional practice in traditional fields of study, the anthropologist of blind people will be expected to exhibit a measure of empathymore than the superficiality that satisfies many sociologists, but less than might lead to full submergence and to "go native" in the culture that is being studied.

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