1st Edition

Dis/ability Studies Theorising disablism and ableism

By Dan Goodley Copyright 2014
    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this ground-breaking new work, Dan Goodley makes the case for a novel, distinct, intellectual, and political project – dis/ability studies – an orientation that might encourage us to think again about the phenomena of disability and ability.

    Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary areas, including sociology, psychology, education, policy and cultural studies, this much needed text takes the most topical and important issues in critical disability theory, and pushes them into new theoretical territory. Goodley argues that we are entering a time of dis/ability studies, when both categories of disability and ability require expanding upon as a response to the global politics of neoliberal capitalism. Divided into two parts, the first section traces the dual processes of ableism and disablism, suggesting that one cannot exist without the other, and makes the case for a research-driven and intersectional analysis of dis/ability. The second section applies this new analytical framework to a range of critical topics, including:

    • The biopolitics of dis/ability and debility
    • Inclusive education
    • Psychopathology
    • Markets, communities and civil society.

    Dis/ability Studies provides much needed depth, texture and analysis in this emerging discipline. This accessible text will appeal to students and researchers of disability across a range of disciplines, as well as disability activists, policymakers, and practitioners working directly with disabled people.

    Preface  Part 1: Finding Dis/ability Studies  1. Disablism  2. Ableism  3. Intersectionality  4. Dis/ability Studies  5. Researching Dis/ability  Part 2: Exemplifying Dis/ability Studies  6. Precarious Bodies: The Biopolitics of Dis/ability and Debility  7. Becoming Inclusive Education: Cripping Neoliberal-able Schooling  8. The Psychopathology of the Normals: Why People are so Messed up Around Dis/ability  9. Markets, Cruel Optimism and Civil Society: Producing Dis/ability  10. Critical Dis/ability Studies


    Dan Goodley is Professor of Disability Studies and Education in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield, UK.

    Dis/Ability Studies: Theorizing Disableism and Ableism, is a compelling text in which readers are invited to engage with, build upon, and weave together important theoretical contributions made by activist scholars in disableism, ableism, queer theory, crip theory, and poststructural and postconventional disability studies research. Goodley himself does much of the weaving for us as he illustrates, rather masterfully I think, how multiple theoretical perspectives might be brought together and expanded in order to open new spaces for theorizing how we might disrupt the intractable nature of ableism and disableism and their entrenched capacity to shape modern neoliberal responses to disability.” - Cynthia Bruce, PhD(C) Part-Time Faculty, Education, Acadia University, Canadian Journal of Disability Studies

    'Dis/Ability Studies brings together a dizzying array of new theoretical concepts, tools and lenses with which to activate a dis/ability imagination. What makes Dis/Ability Studies an exciting read is the incredible volume of theory and empirical research that Goodley reviews, synthesis, dissects and analyses.' - Imogen Tyler, Disability and Society, April 2015

    'The author's thesis is that disability and ability are both worthy of study and they cannot be separated. The messy bits between this binary is what complicates the current state of disability studies, and is really the heart of the entire book ... Particularly enjoyable is his suggestion that so-called "normals" need therapy to combat the psychopathology of ableism ... Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.' - P.A. Murphy, University of Toledo, in CHOICE, December 2014

    Dis/ability Studies proposes a new dialectic in which the twins disability and ability – separated at birth – are re-united in a confrontation whereby the alienated siblings come to terms with their distinctive experiences; one, comfortable in the lap of privilege; the other, mired, deep down amongst the wretched of the earth. Professor Goodley breaks new ground and re-sets the template for the disability debate.’ – Professor Bill Hughes, Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK.

    ‘"Dis/ability studies" is a remarkable synthesis of the most distinctive strands of Goodley’s thought, and yet, expands current scholarly thinking. Goodley offers a clear signal for a change of direction, if not a revolution, in disability thought.’ – Dr Karen Soldatic, School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia.

    ‘With radical vitality, Dan Goodley’s latest invites us to inhabit the slash between able/disabled in order to re-encounter the constitution of the human. Exposing the "normal’s" confused engagement with dis/ability, readers are offered a transformative praxis opposing ideals of ableism while respecting our desire to thrive in disability-as-life. Goodley addresses the often unquestioned and deadly normative demands of our "austere" times as a way to work toward what he takes as the heart of being human, namely, alliance, connections and interdependence. In the midst of disability studies, queer and post-colonial theory, Goodley invites us to imagine politics as the actualization of a committed interrelatedness affirming life that has been made marginal by stark neo-liberal practices that feed markets trading in degradation. Critical of rigid models, this book is an essential read and a rallying cry for anyone who desires to put the question of embodiment into the heart of what it means to be human.’ – Professor Tanya Titchkosky, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada.

    ‘With both the rigor and wit that marks all of his work, Dan Goodley maps the landscape of contemporary critical disability studies in his comprehensive new book. Dis/ability Studies: Theorising Disablism and Ableism, moreover, makes clear to readers the urgent and innovative directions in which disability studies needs to move. This book is not only an invaluable resource surveying the models of disability that structure (and can transform) our culture, it is—in its attention to a global austerity politics and the workings of what Goodley terms neoliberal-ableism—an important part of the global turn that the interdisciplinary field is taking. Through stories of oppression and resistance in multiple locations, Dis/ability Studies ultimately welcomes critically disabled "becomings" that can dismantle the structures of ableism that Goodley theorises.’ – Professor Robert McRuer, Department of English, George Washington University, USA.