1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Disability Human Rights Hierarchies

Edited By Stephen Meyers, Megan McCloskey, Gabor Petri Copyright 2024
    674 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Disability is defined by hierarchy. Regardless of culture or context, persons with disabilities are almost always pushed to the bottom of the social hierarchy.

    With the advent of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), disability human rights seemingly provided a path forward for tearing down ableist social hierarchies and ensuring that all persons with disabilities everywhere were treated equally. Despite important progress, the disability human rights project not only remains incomplete, but has often created new hierarchies among persons with disabilities themselves or across the human rights it promotes. Certain groups of persons with disabilities have gained new voices while others remain silenced and certain rights are prioritized over others depending on what states, international organizations, or advocates want rather than what those on the ground need most.

    This volume was inspired both by the continued need to expose human rights violations against persons with disabilities, but to also explore the nuanced role that hierarchies play in the spread, implementation, and protection of disability human rights. The enjoyment of human rights is not equal nor is the recognition of specific individuals and groups’ rights. In order to change this situation, inequalities across the disability human rights movement must be explored.

    Divided into five parts:

    • Who counts as disabled?
    • Political, social, and cultural context
    • Which rights on top, whose rights on bottom?
    • Pushed to the periphery in the disability rights movement
    • Representations of disability

    and comprised of 34 newly-written chapters including case-studies from the Anglophone Caribbean, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China, Ghana, Haiti, Hungary, India, Israel, Kenya, Latin America, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Serbia and South Africa, and other countries, this book will be of interest to all scholars and students of disability studies, sociology, human rights law and social policy.


    Part One - Who counts as disabled?

    Chapter One - Knowing about Human Rights Situation of Burn Survivors Women of Bangladesh
    Jannatul Ferdous Ivy

    Chapter Two – Creating a STORM: Working together to fight stigma and stand up for the rights of people with learning disabilities
    Lisa Richardson, Michaela Osborne, Christine Burke, Karuna Davies, Adrian Brown, Celia Brown, Paul Davies, Harry Roche and Katrina Scior

    Chapter Three – Rethinking the capacities of disabled children from the perspective of new materialism
    Radoš Keravica

    Chapter Four – A Journey to Realize Autistic’s Right
    Rebekah Kintzinger, Stephanie Côté and Ajay Gandhi

    Chapter Five – "To tremble, else break": Dismanlting Normative Hierarchies of Chronic Lyme
    Pavithra Suresh

    Chapter Six – The Balancing Act: Disability at the intersection of minority ethnicity
    Stephanie Harvey and Julie Jaye Charles

    Chapter Seven – Mental health service users claiming their right to self-advocacy: The journey of "Autoekprosopsi"
    Leonardos Skordos, Diakakis Panagiotis, Marini Garyfalia, Athina Fragkouli and Panagiota Fitsiou

    Chapter Eight – Developing cultural capacity with people who have profound intellectual disabilities
    Nicola Clare Grove, Annie Fergusson, Gillian White, Naomi Hewardine, Karen Bunning, Maureen Phillip, Sue Ledger and Elizabeth Tilley

    Chapter Nine – Fighting for the rights of the non-speaking: Typing words to be heard
    Nicolas Joncour

    Part Two - Political, social, and cultural context

    Chapter Ten – Exploring the now and the prospects of the Disability rights movement in Latin America
    Ana María Sánchez Rodríguez and Beatriz Miranda Galarza

    Chapter Eleven – On the margins while in the midst of conflict – Adults with intellectual disabilities in Northern Ireland and Bosnia Herzegovina
    Áine Sperrin

    Chapter Twelve – Personal assistance services in Poland during the period of higher education: Paving the way for independent living
    Ewa Giermanowska, Mariola Racław and Dorota Szawarska

    Chapter Thirteen – Theories of social dominance in group-based hierarchies: Reflections from the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) project in Uruguay
    Holly Wescott

    Chapter Fourteen – Intellectual Disability and Sexuality in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Communities
    Rina B. Pikkel and Chaya Gershuni

    Chapter Fifteen – On the Hierarchy of Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Higher Education: Capturing the fulfilment of the right to accessibility in Indonesia
    Despan Heryansyah and Sahid Hadi

    Chapter Sixteen – Violence against women and girls with disabilities in residential institutions in Serbia
    Kosana Beker and Biljana Janjic

    Chapter Seventeen – Disability and Displacement: Disability Hierarchy Among Refugees and Other Displaced People
    Jennifer Ward

    Chapter Eighteen – Hierarchy, education and persons with disabilities in Anglophone Caribbean
    Senator Floyd Morris

    Part Three - Which rights on top, whose rights on bottom?

    Chapter Nineteen – Hierarchies of impairment and digital disability rights
    Sarah Lewthwaite and Abi James

    Chapter Twenty – Communication rights moderated through hierarchies of disability and childhood
    Sharynne McLeod and Jessica McLeod

    Chapter Twenty-one – Including the voices of persons with intellectual disabilities in academia: Participatory research, education and development in the academic world
    Anikó Sándor, Csilla Cserti-Szauer, András Futár and Jan Walmsley

    Chapter Twenty-two – Exploring intersectional and ethical feminist perspectives as a possible framework for understanding violence against women with disabilities in Africa with specific reference to forced sterilisation
    Adetokunbo Johnson and Karin van Marle

    Chapter Twenty-three – Inclusive Education through a Neoliberal lens: The hierarchal differences between rural and urban China
    James Hardy and Gaye Tyler-Merrick

    Part Four - Pushed to the periphery in the disability rights movement

    Chapter Twenty-four – Excluded from disability rights debate: the missed voices of people with speech impairments
    Armineh Soorenian

    Chapter Twenty-five – Hierarchies of Leadership Within Disability Justice Movements: The Voices of individuals with intellectual disabilities are often left unheard.
    Jason Harris, Micah Fialka-Feldman, Megan E. Cartier and Sara Soldovieri

    Chapter Twenty-six – Zhenshchiny. Invalidnost’. Feminizm/Women. Disability . Feminism: Claiming Ourselves Against Ableism
    Alyona Lyovina, Maria Tselovatova and Philippa Mullins

    Chapter Twenty-seven – Two sides of the same coin: Domination of the views of the educated in organisations of the blind in Ghana
    Alimata Abdul Karimu

    Chapter Twenty-eight – Between the Disability Movement and the Feminist Movement - Intersectional Mobilizations of Women with Disabilities in Haiti
    Dominique Masson, Stephen Baranyi and Ilionor Louis

    Part Five - Representations of Disability

    Chapter Twenty-nine - Reflections of Misperceptions
    James Ian

    Chapter Thirty – Pirate Island
    Elizabeth Mestheneos

    Chapter Thirty-one – Disability or Vulnerability: How Courts Distinguish between Physical and Psychosocial Disabilities in an Employment Context
    Radina Ugrinova

    Chapter Thirty-two – Rooted in Rights – "Women with Disabilities in India and Kenya"
    Mildred Omino and Shubha Nagesh

    Chapter Thirty-three – Conversation Across Continents on Hierarchies, Human Security and Covid-19
    Rosemary Joan Gowran, Eileen Davis, Natasha Layton, Ricky Buchanan, Diane Bell, Jody Lee van Heerden, Sureshkumar Kamalakannan and Deepak Nathan

    Chapter Thirty-four – An Invitation to Contemplate: Dialogues about disability hierarchies between South Africa and Scotland
    Njabulo Hlongwane, Judith Drake and Jean Cathro

    Chapter Thirty-five – Countering Disability Hierarchy with Cross Disability Solidarity
    Gabor Gombos and Amita Dhanda

    Chapter Thirty-six - Intersecting identities
    Elizabeth Hassler


    Stephen J. Meyers is Director of the Center for Global Studies, at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. He is the author of Civilizing Disability Society: The UN Disability Convention socializing grassroots disabled persons organizations in Nicaragua. Cambridge University Press, 2019.

    Megan McCloskey is Senior Fellow, Disability Inclusive Development Initiative, International Policy Institute, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

    Gabor Petri is postdoctoral researcher at the Democracy Institute, Central European University, Budapest and Honorary Lecturer at the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.