Developments in Critical Disability Studies: Implications for research theory

The School of Social Sciences, the Social Policy Research Centre and the School of Education present an opportunity to discuss and debate developments in disability studies

with Professor Dan Goodley, Professor of Psychology and Disability Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University

Setting the context ................

I have been trying recently to articulate what could be meant by a critical disability studies approach. My recent book (Disability Studies: an interdisciplinary introduction, Sage 2011) and a forthcoming paper (with Helen Meekosha, Critical disability studies: A review essay, for Critical Sociology), account for this emerging trans-­"disciplinary space through reference to a number of emerging insights including theorizing through materialism; bodies that matter; inter/transectionality; Global disability studies and self and Other. Many of these insights are developed further; by authors in a book I have edited with Bill Hughes and Lenny Davis (Disability and Social Theory, Palgrave McMillan, due late 2011). In this session I want to briefly dis/entangle some themes of critical disability studies and their implications for disability studies and research. While we may well start with disability I will suggest that we should never end with it as we learn from other transformative arenas including feminist, critical race and queer theories. Some questions to address during the session could be:

  • Is there such a thing as critical disability studies and what, indeed, makes something critical?
  • Does critical disability studies capture what Tanya Tichkosky has termed the becoming crisis in disability studies?
  • Might critical disability studies be an appropriate location for Australian disability studies researchers to occupy given the hitherto dominance of Anglo-­"American models of disability theory and research articulated by such scholars as Helen Meekosha and Margrit Shildrick?
  • Is there a danger that critical disability studies becomes a new orthodoxy: entranced by theory and devoid of connection with politics and practice?


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