Ordinary language use and the social construction of dyslexia

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    The dyslexia debate remains a contentious and difficult academic field. My positioning is that of a dyslexic, and a philosopher, and as such I do not question the existence of dyslexics only how we might understand that existence. In this paper I reject the value of dyslexia as a concept; instead I suggest we should recognise the existence of dyslexics as a socially constructed and Othered group. I suggest that the concept of Lexism (normative beliefs and practices of literacy) enables us to understand dyslexic ontology more clearly. I utilize ordinary language philosophy, a philosophical approach, to investigate the social construction of dyslexia. I propose a thought experiment of a fictitious disability (‘Dyscomputia’), as a comparable case, to highlight a misconception within the concept of dyslexia. ‘Dyscomputia’ is, of course, a nonsense, but it enables us to see the problematic beliefs behind the concept ‘dyslexia’ (or any equivalent term).
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalDisability & Society
    Early online date25 Sep 2019
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sep 2019


    • dyslexia
    • Philosophy
    • thought experiments
    • Lexism


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