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Disabled children and domestic living spaces in Britain, 1800-1900

Disabled children and domestic living spaces in Britain, 1800-1900

Martin, Mary Clare ORCID: 0000-0002-3568-6423 (2015) Disabled children and domestic living spaces in Britain, 1800-1900. In: Sánchez Romero, Margarita, Alarcón García, Eva and Aranda Jiménez, Gonzalo, (eds.) Children, Spaces and Identity. Childhood in the Past monograph series (4). Oxbow books, Oxford, UK, pp. 136-154. ISBN 978-1782979357

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This chapter analyses the experiences of disabled children living at home in nineteenth century Britain. The volume in which it appears, Children, Spaces and Identity, examines the representation of children and their experiences within a wide range of spatial settings, from pre-history to contemporary museums, with a strong focus on the Spanish-speaking world. By adopting a narrow focus on children's presence in specific parts of nineteenth century homes, of different social groups, in Britain, my own chapter highlights the relationship between space and childhood experience of disability.

The difficulty of recovering children's experiences has been well rehearsed by historians, and little has been written about the experience of disability from the perspective of nineteenth century children. The chapter, which benefited from a keyword search in the Dictionary of National Biography, engages with experiences from a wide range of social classes. The article challenges the accepted binary of "medical" and "social" models of disability, by noting the model of the disabled child as an heroic exemplar, and thus of great moral value, rather than as merely a burden.It also argues for evidence of the "social model" in that many nineteenth century families made adjustments to enable siblings and children to participate in family life.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Previous papers on this topic were presented at the annual conference of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past at the University of Miami, (Nov 2009), at the "Children at Home" conference at the Jeffrye Museum, London, as an invited talk in March 2011, and to the annual conference of the British Society for the History of Paediatrics and Child Health in Liverpool, 2010.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Disabled children; Home; Space; Outdoors; Relationships; Disability theory; Medical model; Social model; Education; Heroic exemplar
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > History Research Group (HRG)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
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Last Modified: 13 Dec 2020 00:52

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