An Ordinary Future: Margaret Mead, the Problem of Disability, and a Child Born Different (Paperback)

An Ordinary Future: Margaret Mead, the Problem of Disability, and a Child Born Different By Thomas W. Pearson Cover Image

An Ordinary Future: Margaret Mead, the Problem of Disability, and a Child Born Different (Paperback)

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This vivid portrait of contemporary parenting blends memoir and cultural analysis to explore evolving ideas of disability and human difference.
 
An Ordinary Future is a deeply moving work that weaves an account of Margaret Mead's path to disability rights activism with one anthropologist's experience as the parent of a child with Down syndrome. With this book, Thomas W. Pearson confronts the dominant ideas, disturbing contradictions, and dramatic transformations that have shaped our perspectives on disability over the last century.

Pearson examines his family's story through the lens of Mead's evolving relationship to disability—a topic once so stigmatized that she advised Erik Erikson to institutionalize his son, born with Down syndrome in 1944. Over the course of her career, Mead would become an advocate for disability rights and call on anthropology to embrace a wider understanding of humanity that values diverse bodies and minds. Powerful and personal, An Ordinary Future reveals why this call is still relevant in the ongoing fight for disability justice and inclusion, while shedding light on the history of Down syndrome and how we raise children born different.
Thomas W. Pearson is Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Social Science Department at the University of Wisconsin–Stout and author of When the Hills Are Gone: Frac Sand Mining and the Struggle for Community.
Product Details ISBN: 9780520388291
ISBN-10: 0520388291
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: September 5th, 2023
Pages: 222
Language: English
"[A] moving meditation on difference, disability, and humanity. In 2015, when his newborn daughter, Michaela, was diagnosed with Down syndrome, [Pearson] and his wife were shocked. Soon, though, he asked himself whether that initial response was generated by ideas about normalcy deeply embedded in the culture. . . . Sensitive reflections on human value."
— Kirkus Reviews

"In a new book, an anthropologist and father of three, including a daughter with Down syndrome, reflects on the pressures of parenting."
— Sapiens