Blind People: The Private and Public Life of Sightless Israelis

SUNY Press
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Blind People approaches disability from a fresh perspective: people with an unusual body are conceived of relativistically as a variant of humanity, much the way anthropology approaches people of different culture. While deeply empathic to its subject matter, Blind People raises questions that anthropologists ask routinely, but which are commonly avoided in everyday life because they touch on sensitive matters. Based on fieldwork in Israel, the book constitutes an ethnography of blind Israelis. It starts by focusing on intimate issues of the management of the sightless body, goes on to discuss the role of the blind person in the domestic setting, and moves to issues of how the blind person strives to attain material requirements. Finally, the book relates the way blind people cope with problems of associating with both blind and sighted people in arenas of leisure activity and public affairs. Deshen’s book aims to present a truthful, dignified, fully human depiction, in the tradition of socio-cultural anthropology.
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About the author

Shlomo Deshen is Professor of Social Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University. A past president of the Israel Anthropological Association, he is the author of The Mellah Society: Jewish Community Life in Sherifian Morocco.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2012
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Pages
197
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ISBN
9781438400907
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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