Presentation on theme: "Culling the sacred cows: from disability slogans to disability studies"— Presentation transcript:
1 Culling the sacred cows: from disability slogans to disability studies Dr Tom ShakespeareUniversity of Newcastle
2 Debating the social model Devised within UPIAS, 1970sBecomes ‘big idea’ of disability movementAcademic formulation in Finkelstein (1980) and Oliver (1990)Challenges during the 1990sPractical/political flaws (Morris, Crow, French)Theoretical flaws (Tremain, Shakespeare & Watson)Debate continues
3 The social model as a tool Nobody denies the benefits of the social model. But social model exclusivity is an obstacle to progress.“Give a person a hammer, and everything becomes a nail”“If I had a hammer”Mike Oliver argues that the social model is a tool which works to achieve social change for disabled people
4 Requirements of a political position Simple: easy to understand, apply, shoutDirect: this is the priorityMobilising: private problem to public issuePersuasive: emotional resonancePersonal benefit: psychological pay offPolitical benefit: identity building
5 Positions or slogans? Rights not charity! Piss on pity! We do not need care!Disabled by society, not by our bodies!Free our people!No Nazi eugenics!
6 “Make everything as simple as possible “Make everything as simple as possible. But not simpler” Albert Einstein“I do not trust fervour. Every time it hasburst out somewhere it has brought fire,famine, misery... And contempt for man.Fervour is the weapon of choice of the impotent.”Frantz Fanon
7 Requirements of academic positions ConsistentLogicalCoherentSupported by empirical evidenceCredibleAccessibleReleventEngaged
8 Role of disability studies 1. Take your lead from organisations OF disabled people (emancipatory research). Develop political positions.OR2.Challenge. Test. Develop thinking. Find evidence. Deepen understandings. Apply theory. Develop academic positions. Ask the difficult questions…
9 Karl Marx, Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point however, is to change it.Karl Marx, Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach
10 Thinking the unthinkable? Impairment prevention is often desirablePeople are disabled by their bodies, not just by societyMany disabled people would like a cureSome special schools do a very good jobMany charities do much good workSome disabled people want to live in residential situations and that’s okayNon disabled parents and carers have an important role in advocating for their disabled family members
11 What is wrong with charity? Legal status?Third sector: not state or marketVoluntary ethosCharity as large bureaucraciesInstitutionalisationCharity advertisingFund raisingNot controlled by disabled people?
12 What is right with charity? Caritas – love – ‘The true revolutionary is guided by strong feelings of love’ (Che Guevara)Mutual aidCharity not incompatible with rights“Charity is impossible without justice, but justice without charity is deformed.” (Levinas)
13 Ways forward for disability studies? Open debate, accept pluralismQuestion everythingDistinguish emotion from logic – make a place for bothGather empirical evidenceLearn from other social movementsRemain relevant, accessible, engaged
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