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Societies 2016, 6(2), 11; doi:10.3390/soc6020011

Beadwork and the Plasticity of Disability: (Un)Making Bodily Difference, Gender and Apprenticeship in Kinshasa, DR Congo

Social and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Kinshasa, B.P 127 Kinshasa 11, Democratic Republic of Congo
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Megan Strickfaden
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
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Plastic beads have recently become of importance in the lives of women with disabilities in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). Using a materialist approach that focuses on such specific items, this article deviates from most materialist approaches to disability that are focused on the built environment, medical objects, or assistive technology. Rather, the focus is on “things” (this term is to be understood as items being alive in meshworks of social relations) that are explanatory of disability, gender, and world formation or “making”. We show how the interplay of materials, gender, and disability results in acts of creation and performance, and involves an unfolding of life and orientation towards the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: disability; gender; beads; cultural practice; thingification; anthropology disability; gender; beads; cultural practice; thingification; anthropology

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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De Coster, J.; Nkayilu, E.M.; Devlieger, P. Beadwork and the Plasticity of Disability: (Un)Making Bodily Difference, Gender and Apprenticeship in Kinshasa, DR Congo. Societies 2016, 6, 11.

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