Alterity In/Of Happiness: Reflecting on the radical possibilities of unruly bodies

E. Chandler, C. Rice


This paper examines how fat and disabled subjects may be taught to appear as happy through biopedagogies in order to manage shame and disgust evoked by their unruly, non-conforming bodies. We begin by articulating what we mean by “biopedagogies”. We then unpack how the requirement to be happy feeds directly into a neoliberal agenda, which demands we must take care of ourselves both economically and emotionally in order to be considered good citizens. We explore how, in the midst of the requirement to be happy while living in bodies not recognised as inhabitable, we create and find moments of alterity in/of happiness. Through analysing art by disabled and fat activists and artists, we examine how disabled and fat people find happiness in difference, rather than in spite of it while at the same time, hanging on to rage and dull pain within this alterity of happiness.


disability; fat; biopedagogy; happiness; art

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