1st Edition

The New Political Economy of Disability Transnational Networks and Individualised Funding in the Age of Neoliberalism

By Georgia van Toorn Copyright 2021
    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book addresses the ways in which individualised, market-based models of disability support provision have been mobilised in and across different countries through cross-national investigation of individualised funding (IF) as an object of neoliberal policy mobility.

    Combining rich theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives with extensive empirical research, the book provides a timely examination of the policy processes and mechanisms driving the spread of IF amongst countries at the forefront of disability policy reform. It is argued that IF’s mobility is not attributable to neoliberalism alone but to the complex intersections between neoliberal and emancipatory agendas and to the transnational networks that have blended the two agendas in new ways in different institutional contexts. The book shows how disability rights struggles have synchronised with neoliberal agendas, which explains IF’s propensity to move and mutate between different jurisdictions. Featuring first-hand accounts of the activists and advocates engaged in these struggles, the book illuminates the consequences and risks of the dangerous liaisons and political trade-offs that seemed necessary to get individualised funding on the policy agenda for disabled people.

    It will be of interest to all scholars and students working in disability studies, social policy, sociology and political science more generally.


    1. Individualised funding: history, theory, practice. 

    2. Disability politics and the origins of Individualised Funding. 

    3. From Thatcherism to New Labour: Individualised Funding in an age of ‘deep’ neoliberalisation. 

    4. Self-direct Support: A New Direction for Scottish Social Care? 

    5. Transnational advocacy and neoliberal entanglements: Individualised Funding in post-GFC Scotland. 

    6. New policy, same paradigm: Australia’s experiment in Individualised Funding. 

    7. Individualised Funding and the changing political economy of Australia’s ‘disability marketplace’. 



    Georgia van Toorn is a political sociologist whose principal interests are in social policy and welfare research, and the political economy of disability and care work. Her research program comprises a series of projects that investigate the politics of social policy reform, the organisation and delivery of social care, and care work in publicly funded social services in which market-oriented principles, processes, vocabularies and mechanisms have been adopted, both in Australia and internationally. Georgia is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney, on a study of the history and impacts of Australian sociology.