Date: December 1st 2022
Time: Noon – 2pm
Presenter 1, Name: Ruadhán, J Flynn
Presenter 2, Name: Arianna Introna
Talk 1, Title: A concept and theory of infantilisation, understood through disabled experience
Talk 1, Abstract:
Although sometimes used as a descriptor, the term ‘infantilisation’ has so far lacked any
real conceptual clarity. When people are infantilised, are they treated like children, or as children, thought of as being equivalent to children, or merely barred from some adult norms or formalities?
Is infantilisation just a severe form of paternalism, or is it something distinct?
Drawing on literature and empirical research from multiple disciplines and geographical regions, primarily concerning attitudes to and treatment of disabled people, I propose a concept and theory of infantilisation. I propose that infantilised adults are not merely considered childlike or less than fully adult; they are conceived of as being children in the bodies of adults. This means that infantilisation is conceptually distinct from paternalism – and it is important to understand this, if the ensuing treatments are to be properly understood. The concept ‘child’ cannot be applied to an
adult without conflict.
To provide a theory of infantilisation, I show how it is enacted. I propose that infantilisation has four distinguishing features: ‘baby talk’, infantilising activities and environments, desexualisation, and stasis. These features stem directly from the conceptual foundation of infantilisation, they are not
found even in cases of severe paternalism, and they reflect the conflict which occurs when the concept ‘child’ is applied to an adult. It is important to conceptually separate infantilisation from paternalism and to understand how it works in practice – especially in the context of people with high support needs – if its harmful effects are to be countered.
Ruadhán J. Flynn is currently prae-doc at the Messerli Research Institute and a member of the Vienna Doctoral School of Philosophy at the University of Vienna. They completed their Master of Research thesis, Infantilisation in Care, Community and Cognitive Disability, in 2021. Their doctoral project combines research on dehumanization, (philosophy of) cognitive disability, and feminist
social epistemology. ruadhanjflynn.com
Talk 2, Title: Crip Enchantments: Autonomist Narratives of Disability in Scottish Writing (and beyond)
Talk 2, Abstract:
Disorienting effects erupt when non-normative bodies and minds clash with the structures of capitalist normalcy. Arianna Introna’s Autonomist Narratives of Disability in Modern Scottish Writing: Crip Enchantments brings into conversation Scottish studies, disability studies and autonomist Marxism to explore the ways in which these ‘crip enchantments’ are imagined in modern Scottish writing, and the ‘autonomist’ narratives of disability by which they are evoked. In this talk Arianna will discuss the encounter between crip and class imaginaries in Scottish writing that Crip Enchantments is primarily concerned with as a starting point for a wider reflection on how disability and class politics meet (or clash) in Scottish cultural imaginaries and beyond.
Arianna Introna received her MLitt and PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Stirling and is now Associate Lecturer with the Open University. Her research interests span Scottish literature, disability studies, Marxist autonomist theory and critical theory