Foucault and the Government of Disability

Enlarged and Revised Edition
Shelley Tremain, Editor
An up-to-date edition of a foundational collection


Foucault and the Government of Disability considers the continued relevance of Foucault to disability studies, as well as the growing significance of disability studies to understandings of Foucault. A decade ago, this international collection provocatively responded to Foucault’s call to question what is regarded as natural, inevitable, ethical, and liberating. The book’s contributors draw on Foucault to scrutinize a range of widely endorsed practices and ideas surrounding disability, including rehabilitation, community care, impairment, normality and abnormality, inclusion, prevention, accommodation, and special education. In this revised and expanded edition, four new essays extend and elaborate the lines of inquiry by problematizing (to use Foucault’s term) the epistemological, political, and ethical character of the supercrip, the racialized war on autism, the performativity of intellectual disability, and the potent mixture of neoliberalism and biopolitics in the context of physician-assisted suicide.

“A beautiful exploration of how Foucault’s analytics of power and genealogies of discursive knowledges can open up new avenues for thinking critically about phenomena that many of us take to be inevitable and thus new ways of resisting and possibly at times redirecting the forces that shape our lives. Every scholar, every person with an interest in Foucault or in political theory generally, needs to read this book.”
—Ladelle McWhorter, University of Richmond

“[A]n important, prescient, and necessary contribution…a kind of litmus test for the efficacy of Foucault’s concepts in the study of disability, concepts that lead to a refusal of the biological essentialism implied in the disability/impairment binary.”
Foucault Studies

“Tremain has done an exceptional job at organizing and procuring important, rigorously argued, and entertaining essays…. This book should be a mandatory read for anyone interested in contemporary philosophical debates surrounding the experience of disability.”
Essays in Philosophy

Shelley L. Tremain holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and has taught in Canada, the U.S., and Australia.

Praise / Awards

  • "...speaks persuasively to the continuing fruitfulness of Foucauldian methods for disability studies…Recommended."
    --Choice Reviews
  • "In this second edition of Foucault and the Government of Disability there are four new chapters in Part V, ‘Disability and Governmentality in the Present’, but it is a book worth reading from the start for the first time and for the second time."
    --Disability and Society

  • "The re-issuing of this text is meant to be a celebration of the decade long impact Tremain’s collection of essays has had on the discussion about disability across academia. It rightly deserves to be celebrated for that reason alone. However, this newly updated version deserves to be celebrated in its own right as it will most certainly continue, over the next decade, to inform the discussions, highlight the controversies, and champion the rights and recognitions owed to the many people, past and present, whose existence is the subject matter of this book."
    --Canadian Journal of Disability Studies

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Product Details

  • 6.125 x 9.25.
  • 440pp.
  • 1 Diagram.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2015
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03638-7

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  • $35.95 U.S.

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  • Foucault, disability, biopower, governmentality, ableism, inclusion, the subject, subjectivity, impairment, people with disabilities, Deaf, disabled, learning difficulties, special education,audism, inaccessibility