Ableism and Ability Studies

Gregor Wolbring, Associate professor, Dept. of Community Health Sciences, Program in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary, Canada,

As I see it, the theoretical framework and analytical lens of Ableism is a gift from the disabled people rights movement and disability studies to the social sciences and humanities.

I self-identify as a disability studies scholar, a science and technology studies scholar and an ability-cultural researcher (cultural research on ability preferences exhibited by individuals and societies). Ability expectations and preferences are one dynamic through which members of a group judge others and themselves and their lives. Ability preferences and judgments are at the root of many rules of behaviours and customs.  Every disability studies scholar is in my eyes also an ability-cultural researcher. Continue reading

Death by a thousand cuts

Jackie Leach Scully, Reader in Social Ethics and Bioethics, Newcastle University, UK

Conversations among disabled people in Britain these days circle round and round one topic: the government and what it is doing to us.  And those conversations are full of anxiety and anger. As many readers of this blog will know, the coalition government that came into power in 2010 set off what it calls a reform of welfare provisions, announced (apparently with pride) as the most extensive since the welfare state came into being in 1945.  “Reform” here should be read as “cuts”: there is no hiding the fact that the aim isn’t to make the present system better, but to reduce public spending. And although all areas of welfare are under scrutiny, it’s also clear that disabled people are disproportionately under attack. Continue reading