City Research Online

A culture of silence: modes of objectification and the silencing of disabled bodies

Yoshida, K. K. & Shanouda, F. (2015). A culture of silence: modes of objectification and the silencing of disabled bodies. Disability and Society, 30(3), pp. 432-444. doi: 10.1080/09687599.2015.1019042


Throughout history different practices have attempted to silence the experiences of disabled people. In this paper we explore some of these practices including the medical, familial, and self-subjugating practices English-speaking Canadian polio survivors experienced throughout their lives. We analyze participant’s experiences of silence and silencing through a Foucauldian lens, drawing on the three modes of objectification to explain the institutional and cultural discourses around polio subjects that acted upon and through the polio body to silence it. Participants’ oral history accounts demonstrate how sociocultural and medical practices effectively silenced survivors from speaking about their polio experiences. However, the trope of silence is also uprooted within oral history traditions. We will demonstrate how participants broke their silence and shifted their perspectives on polio and disability, and how this process contributed to their resistance of hegemonic conceptualizations of disability as defective.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability & Society on 16 March 2015, available online:
Publisher Keywords: disability, silence, enfleshment (enfleshed), oral history, modes of objectification, polio
Subjects: R Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Culture of Silence - FINAL.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (95kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login