1st Edition

Disability and Rurality Identity, Gender and Belonging

Edited By Karen Soldatic, Kelley Johnson Copyright 2017
    274 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    274 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This is the first book to explore how far disability challenges dominant understandings of rurality, identity, gender and belonging within the rural literature. The book focuses particularly on the ways disabled people give, and are given, meaning and value in relation to ethical rural considerations of place, physical strength, productivity and social reciprocity.

    A range of different perspectives to the issues of living rurally with a disability inform this work. It includes the lived experience of people with disabilities through the use of life history methodologies, rich qualitative accounts and theoretical perspectives. It goes beyond conventional notions of rurality, grounding its analysis in a range of disability spaces and places and including the work of disability sociologists, geographers, cultural theorists and policy analysts. This interdisciplinary focus reveals the contradictory and competing relations of rurality for disabled people and the resultant impacts and effects upon disabled people and their communities materially, discursively and symbolically.

    Of interest to all scholars of disability, rural studies, social work and welfare, this book provides a critical intervention into the growing scholarship of rurality that has bypassed the pivotal role of disability in understanding the lived experience of rural landscapes.

    Notes on the cover image

    Editor biographies

    Contributor biographies


    Introduction – Disability and rurality: identity, gender and belonging (Karen Soldatic and Kelley Johnson)

    Part I: Disability, Identity and Rurality

    1 – ‘I am stronger now’: life as a disabled woman in rural Iceland (Harpa Sigurdardóttir and Rannveig Traustadóttir)

    2 – The pull and the push of rural life: Scott and Graham’s story (Brigit Mirfin-Veitch, Paul Milner and Jane McDonald)

    3 – Young people moving from rural foster care to cities in China (Karen R. Fisher and Xiaoyuan Shang)

    4 – Institutionalizing rural life (Jan Walmsley and Kelley Johnson)

    5 – Rurality, disability and place identity (Daniela Stehlik)

    Part II: Disability, Gender and Rurality

    6 – ‘It’s not complicated’: physical disability and farming in rural Iceland (Kristín Björnsdóttir, James G. Rice and Rúnar Geir Ólafsson)

    7 – Hiding, isolation and solace: rural disabled women and neoliberal welfare reform (Hannah Morgan)

    8 – Southern gendered disability reflections: the everyday experiences of rural women with disabilities after the armed conflict in Sri Lanka (Niroshini Kandasamy, Karen Soldatic and Dinesha Samararatne)

    9 – Youth, masculinity in rural and regional Australia: beer, 4WDs and home (Louisa Smith, Nikki Wedgwood, Russell Shuttleworth and Gwynnyth Llewellyn)

    10 – Theoretical reflections: rurality, gender and disability (Jos Boys)

    Part III: Disability, Belonging and Rurality

    11 – Belonging in country Ireland? ‘For me it comes down to work’ (Joe McGrath, Kelley Johnson and Rob Hopkins)

    12 – In the picture: perspectives of young people with cognitive disability on rural and regional life (Sally Robinson, Karen R. Fisher, Malcolm Hill and Anne Graham)

    13 – Shifting landscapes of care and distress: a topological understanding of rurality (Ian M. Tucker)

    14 – Problematizing social inclusion and fostering sense of belonging for people with disabilities in rural Cambodia (Alexandra Gartrell)

    15 – Reclaiming kith: weaving belongingness into community (Liz Ellis)

    16 – Belonging (Phoebe Caldwell)

    Conclusion (Kelley Johnson and Karen Soldatic)



    Karen Soldatic is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2016–2019), Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia.

    Kelley Johnson is Professor of Disability and Policy at the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia).

    'An original book that amounts to essential reading on disabled lives in rural locations across the globe. Personal voices are explored in cultural context – paying careful attention to social diversity and varied landscapes. All social scientific disciplines have much to learn from this book’s exploration of key themes: identity, gender and belonging.'    Carol Thomas, Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, UK