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The ideology of neuroscience and intellectual disability: reconstituting the 'disordered' brain

Altermark, Niklas LU (2014) In Disability & Society 29(9). p.1460-1472
Abstract
During the last two or three decades, neuroscience has changed how we understand brain functioning. This shift, which is re-conceptualizing the relationship between the materiality of the brain and consciousness, is bound to have implications for intellectual disability, which is commonly seen as a condition of the brain. At present, examinations of intellectual disability that deploy techniques and concepts from neuroscience constitute a growing research field that has been welcomed in some quarters of the disability research community. The purpose of this article is to urge for caution as regards this development. I argue that the neuroscience of intellectual disability is embodying ideological propositions that need to be problematized.... (More)
During the last two or three decades, neuroscience has changed how we understand brain functioning. This shift, which is re-conceptualizing the relationship between the materiality of the brain and consciousness, is bound to have implications for intellectual disability, which is commonly seen as a condition of the brain. At present, examinations of intellectual disability that deploy techniques and concepts from neuroscience constitute a growing research field that has been welcomed in some quarters of the disability research community. The purpose of this article is to urge for caution as regards this development. I argue that the neuroscience of intellectual disability is embodying ideological propositions that need to be problematized. By theorizing the relationship between biology and politics and examining neuroscientific publications on intellectual disability, I argue that this strand of research is underpinned by a discursive division between normal and pathological, that it therefore constitutes a continuation of understanding intellectual disability as a 'disorder' and that any firm separation between the 'nature' of intellectual disability and processes of power is inherently problematic. To be able to critically approach the neuroscience of intellectual disability, it is vital that disability researchers problematize the relationship between biology and politics. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
bio-politics, intellectual disability, neuroscience, disability studies
in
Disability & Society
volume
29
issue
9
pages
1460 - 1472
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • wos:000342514200009
  • scopus:84908215149
ISSN
0968-7599
DOI
10.1080/09687599.2014.953244
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2054228c-5026-41d8-ba2e-e43dffcc713b (old id 4803754)
date added to LUP
2014-11-26 08:09:42
date last changed
2017-05-14 03:16:14
@article{2054228c-5026-41d8-ba2e-e43dffcc713b,
  abstract     = {During the last two or three decades, neuroscience has changed how we understand brain functioning. This shift, which is re-conceptualizing the relationship between the materiality of the brain and consciousness, is bound to have implications for intellectual disability, which is commonly seen as a condition of the brain. At present, examinations of intellectual disability that deploy techniques and concepts from neuroscience constitute a growing research field that has been welcomed in some quarters of the disability research community. The purpose of this article is to urge for caution as regards this development. I argue that the neuroscience of intellectual disability is embodying ideological propositions that need to be problematized. By theorizing the relationship between biology and politics and examining neuroscientific publications on intellectual disability, I argue that this strand of research is underpinned by a discursive division between normal and pathological, that it therefore constitutes a continuation of understanding intellectual disability as a 'disorder' and that any firm separation between the 'nature' of intellectual disability and processes of power is inherently problematic. To be able to critically approach the neuroscience of intellectual disability, it is vital that disability researchers problematize the relationship between biology and politics.},
  author       = {Altermark, Niklas},
  issn         = {0968-7599},
  keyword      = {bio-politics,intellectual disability,neuroscience,disability studies},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {1460--1472},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Disability & Society},
  title        = {The ideology of neuroscience and intellectual disability: reconstituting the 'disordered' brain},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2014.953244},
  volume       = {29},
  year         = {2014},
}