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‘A person with some sort of learning disability’: the aetiological narrative and public construction of Susan Boyle.

Calvert, Dave (2014) ‘A person with some sort of learning disability’: the aetiological narrative and public construction of Susan Boyle. Disability and Society, 29 (1). pp. 101-114. ISSN 0968-7599

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Abstract

Susan Boyle's audition for the television talent competition Britain's Got Talent attracted global attention and widespread media discourse. In this article, I examine this discourse to consider how Boyle's success troubles conventional constructions of both learning disability and celebrity.

I extend Ciara Evans's recognition that learning disability is invisible to reflect on the media responses to Boyle's impairment. This reflection notes that even within Boyle's own discourse, she is loosely positioned as having 'some sort of learning disability'.

Detailed attention is given to the aetiological account of the 'brain damage' Boyle `suffered' at birth. The analysis will consider the correlation with scientific discourse, trauma theory and the imposed biography to suggest that the construction of Boyle as both contained and unpredictable is already implicit in the aetiological narrative.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
School of Music, Humanities and Media > Drama Research Group
Related URLs:
Depositing User: David Calvert
Date Deposited: 08 May 2013 16:38
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 10:38
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/17425

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