Edited By Chris Mounsey and Stan Booth
In/Dis-Ability: A Medievalist’s Perspective
This essay discusses medieval and modern concepts of disability and how they might differ. One may note the medieval variability of labelling for ‘disability’ and the disabled. The conversation may highlight key concerns of today, by concentrating on two main themes: mobility and work (also working ability). The changing notions of poverty from the early to the later Middle Ages, from involuntary to voluntary poverty, demonstrate that inability to work becomes a key indicator of both poverty and disability. Personal mobility is a further key indicator, with differing types of mobility experienced by medieval disabled people. While mobility today is individualized and technologized, in contrast mobility in the past relied more on people than animals.
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