Kateřina Kolářová:
“Mental Retardation” and Affective Politics of Abandonment [128]

« volume 18, number 2/2017: Postcolonial and Decolonial Thought in Feminism

Kolářová, Kateřina. 2017. „„Mentální retardace“ a afektivní politiky zřeknutí se.“ Gender a výzkum / Gender and Research 18 (2): 128-154, http://dx.doi.org/10.13060/25706578.2017.18.2.374

This text explores the affective politics of race and disability that underpin the post-socialist developments in the Czech Republic. Firstly, I interrogate “mental retardation”, as a discursive and material practice of differentiating human life according to presumed value. To make the argument, the text follows practices of “mental retardation” through several discursive and material locations: cultural imaginations of “ferality”, controversy spiked by the use of “protective”/“cage” beds in institutional care and the concept of lege artis, i.e. the principle of necessary and (medically) possible care. Travelling through these locations, I argue, secondly, that racialised and ableist notions of worthy human life have been central to the post-socialist affective politics of abandonment. In other words, the text shows how the politics of re-negotiated belonging and attachment to liberal democracy in the post-socialist Czech Republic were predicated upon structures of abandonment and the de/valuation of disabled and racialised lives. And lastly, the text lays out the legacies of colonial domination even in the contemporary intersectional comminglings of race and disability as it is echoed in the current practices of “mental retardation”.

Keywords: intersectional feminist theory, post-socialism, coloniality, disability, race, discourses of mental retardation, lege artis

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