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Making the Muggle: A Study of Processes of Othering in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and how Teachers Can Use the Novels to Work with Issues of Ableism
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The magical fictional setting of the Harry Potter novels is not one separated from our own. It features the same nations and the same history as the real world. Its society is parallel to ours due to similar traditions and hierarchies, such as heteronormativity, ageism, racism, and fascism. Some of these are clearly problematised in the novels, others are not. While issues of racism and blood status are clearly at the forefront of the story of Harry Potter, there are layers to the conflict which reveal that there is more to the discriminatory dilemma than the issue of blood purity. This essay aims to investigate how teachers can use J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series to lead a discussion about othering and discrimination, focusing on the issue of ableism in particular.

The goal when studying processes of othering in Harry Potter is not necessarily for the reader to identify with the protagonists. Instead, textual silences will be interpreted to investigate whether the othering of people like the readers themselves, an othering the reader partakes in when empathising with the protagonists, can be compared to ableism in the real world, and how teachers can use Harry Potter as means to introduce the idea of able-bodiedness as a social construct. By applying crip theory to the text, it can be stated that the division between the protagonist and his non-magical Other is based on ableist ideologies, which result in a positioning of the non-magical as disabled in the magical society. This position is maintained by naturalising the link between impairment and character flaws.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , p. 37
Keyword [en]
Harry Potter, othering, ableism, crip theory, disability studies, pedagogy, anti-oppressive education
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-138716OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-138716DiVA, id: diva2:1068308
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Available from: 2017-02-03 Created: 2017-02-03Bibliographically approved

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Department of Language EducationDepartment of English
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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