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Childhood Disability and Social Integration in the Middle Ages: Constructions of Impairments in Thirteenth- And Fourteenth-Century Canonization Proces

Hardcover - 31 May 2016
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Description

This volume offers new insights into medieval disability studies by analysing miracle testimonies from canonization processes as sources for the study of medieval attitudes to and understanding of childhood physical impairments: how they were defined, and the social consequences of childhood disability on the family, on the community, and on children themselves. In these texts, laypeople from different social groups carefully described events leading to children's miraculous cures of physical impairments, as well as the conditions themselves. They thus provide an exceptionally rich (yet hitherto unexplored) window into the ways in which medieval society defined, explained, and understood children's impairments. Besides simply describing disabilities and miraculous cures, these testimonies also reveal various aspects of everyday experiences and communal attitudes towards impaired children. The few testimonies by the children themselves offer fascinating insights into personal experiences of physical disability and how disability affected a child's socialization and the formation of identity. This study thus aims to tease apart the often-complex ways in which medieval society both viewed physical differences and how it chose to (re)construct these differences in the discourse of the miraculous, as well as in everyday life.

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