Disability as Malleability: The Prosthetic Metaphor, Merleau-Ponty and the Case of Aimee Mullins
Luna Dolezal explores in her chapter the promises, pitfalls and politics of the prosthetic metaphor. The chapter considers how the prosthetic metaphor has currency in theory, through a discussion of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological descriptions of the body schema and tool usage, themes which demonstrate how the lived human body has the capacity for mediality-blending self and other, fact and fiction, tool and world. The chapter considers the figure of Aimee Mullins as a living exemplar of the enfleshment of the prosthetic metaphor. Exploring artistic and commercial representations of Mullins, the chapter considers how the theoretical contradictions and tensions of the prosthetic metaphor play out concretely in terms of promoting the possibilities of body malleability for disabled bodies, considering the potentials and pitfalls for disability politics.