Gimp Anthropology: Non-Apparent Disabilities and Navigating the Social
Faubion, James D.
Master of Arts
Individuals with non-apparent, physical disabilities face unique social challenges from those that are encountered by the more visibly disabled. The absence of visible cues indicating physical impairment causes ambiguity in social situations, leaving the sufferer vulnerable to moral judgments and social sanctions when they are unable to embody and perform to cultural norms. This dynamic generates a closeted status that the individual must learn to navigate. Using Eve Sedgwick's "The Epistemology of the Closet," this paper deploys auto-ethnography, traditional ethnographic techniques, and literature reviews to illuminate a third space of functioning between the outwardly 'healthy' and the visibly disabled.