Symposium on Ethics and Disability "Words and People"
The Symposium on Ethics and Disability “Words and People” was organised jointly with Frater (an association whose mission is to promote the growth of people with disabilities and their integral development), and was held at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Girona on 20 and 21 June 2022, according to the programme which you can download by clicking here.
The symposium set out to address the following issues: Sick, crippled, invalids, subnormal, deficient, handicapped, disabled, people with disabilities or functional diversity, people unjustly disabled by society. Is it necessary to establish a word that “defines” or identifies us? Are words merely a way of describing a reality or are they also creators of reality? Is it necessary and possible to trap such a diverse collective in a concept? Which do we consider to be the most appropriate? Should the name be imposed from the outside? Does the collective itself have to decide?
Foucault, in his work Words and Things, places emphasis on speech, on language
as a network that determines how we see and experience reality, and how each epoch constructs a conceptual and how each epoch constructs a conceptual scaffolding that links words and things.
Inspired by the title of this work, we proposed that the first Symposium on Disability should focus on the word that “separates” us from the rest of the population, that identifies us, and on all that it deploys and enables, all that it constructs and deconstructs. Words are generators of different realities, they create collectives and forge identities, but they are also generators of exclusion, of segregation, and they hang often unwanted labels on us.