- When whiteness becomes a problem: (un)doing differences in the case of Down’s Syndrome
- Medische Antropologie
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Down Syndrome is typically considered to be a genetic disease, that is, an abnormality in the chromosomal count. In this paper, however, I will focus on other practices of Down’s syndrome. First, I will examine a case of post-natal care, to show how race and disability are made and unmade in relation to each another. I will argue that the ‘body of concern’ is not so much a somatic individual body as it is a relational body. Differences are not entities "out there" that can be added to our (diagnostic) methods "in here". Instead, I argue that they are effects that come about in specific practices. The second part of the paper analyzes the peculiar case of the Down Doll and focuses on how its body assumes different forms and roles in different social settings. The case will particularly demonstrate how medical ‘facts’, materialized in the body of a doll, perform a variety of social tasks in different contexts. With the (help of the) doll, Down syndrome becomes not only a medical but also a social ‘fact’. In addition, the "medical" (or the biological) itself does not remain unaffected but is constantly changing as the doll moves through different social settings.
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