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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Bodily and mental attributes marked as “abnormal” have served as the basis of a diverse range of folk groups. This chapter presents an overview of how folklorists have studied these groups, offering insight into how outsiders respond to them through folklore and how insiders use traditional folk expressions to respond to their experiences with stigma. It also identifies emerging work within folklore and folklife studies attending to the “stigmatized vernacular” and its applicability to the study of body, neurodiverse, and ability-based identities. Finally, it considers the embodied nature of vernacular performances in relation to body-based identities, offering examples of how the physical body itself can serve as a rich communicative resource for re-envisioning and revaluing stigmatized group identities.

Keywords: deafness, diabetes, disability, folklife, folklore, Hansen’s disease, HIV/AIDS, neurodiversity, bodylore

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