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Marks, D. (1997). Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body, Lennard J. Davis. London: Verso, 1995.. Free Associations, 7(1):138-142.

(1997). Free Associations, 7(1):138-142

Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body, Lennard J. Davis. London: Verso, 1995.

Review by:
Deborah Marks

Accompanying my review copy of Enforcing Normalcy I received a publicity flyer with the usual eulogies about the text. Included within this was an appraisal by Oliver Sacks stating that the book offers ‘a unique perspective which should fascinate not only Deaf people and those concerned with them, but also a much wider audience … a very good mixture of objectivity and empathy’. Having read Enforcing Normalcy, I am now left wondering whether Sacks is talking about his own book on Deafness - Seeing Voices - rather than Davis' text. ‘Objectivity’ suggests detachment. ‘Empathy’ emerges when one imagines oneself in a similar situation to that of an ‘other’. Both terms are used when assessing the appraisal of someone else's life. However, Enforcing Normalcy is expressly not about the anthropological Others addressed by Sacks in his objective and empathic writing. Rather, Davis attempts a more challenging offering.

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