‘Still about the town’: constructing disability in small town nineteenth century England

King, S., 2022. ‘Still about the town’: constructing disability in small town nineteenth century England. Family and Community History, 25 (2), pp. 98-120. ISSN 1463-1180

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This article draws on the largest source base ever assembled – some 12 million words of diverse material ranging from letters, through life-writing and to committee minutes – to investigate the public presence of those with sensory, physical or mental impairments. Focusing on the nineteenth century, the classic period in which it is argued that impairment came to be constructed into ‘disability’ and subject to medical intervention, and on poor people the article makes three core points. First, that ordinary people could not have avoided seeing or being involved with people living with these impairments in their everyday public lives; second, that few of these people and even fewer of those living with physical and mental issues constructed impairment into disability – indeed the phrase is almost completely absent from the 12 million word corpus in terms of its modern usage; finally, that while public presence did not guarantee good and respectful treatment of people navigating physical, sensory or mental issues, in most cases and at most times in the nineteenth century there was a clear sense of societal and personal obligation to such people.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Family and Community History
Creators: King, S.
Publisher: Informa UK Limited
Date: 11 November 2022
Volume: 25
Number: 2
ISSN: 1463-1180
Rights: © 2022 the author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 16 Nov 2022 13:22
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2022 13:22
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/47419

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