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Free Symposium: “Disability and the Human”, Manchester, 5th Feb

“Disability and the Human” Symposium
Time: 10am – 4 pm
Date: Friday, February 5th, 2016,
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1Brooks Building, Birley Fields Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15 6GX
Travel Information here: https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/hpsc/contact-us/travel-and-parking/

Please book a place, here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/disability-the-human-tickets-19564406667

Programme

10.00-10.15
Registration & Arrival (Tea/coffee available for purchase)

10.15-11.15
What’s love got to do with it? Austerity, intimacy and humanity

Kirsty Liddiard, School of Education, University of Sheffield

11.15 – 12.15
Disability, childhood and the human: refusing monstrosity

Katherine Runswick-Cole, The Research Centre for Social Change: Community Wellbeing, Manchester Metropolitan University.

12.15 – 1.15
Lunch (Please bring your lunch or purchase on campus)

1.15 – 2.15
Homo-psycho-pharmaceuticus: economic suicides and the global market in debility

China Mills, School of Education, University of Sheffield

2.15 – 2.30
Break

2.30 -3.30 Theorising disability and humanity

Dan Goodley* and Rebecca Lawthom**, *School of Education, The University of Sheffield, **The Research Centre for Social Change: Community Wellbeing, Manchester Metropolitan University.

3.30 – 4.00
Plenary

Abstracts and Biographies

What’s love got to do with it? Austerity, intimacy and humanity
Kirsty Liddiard, School of Education, University of Sheffield

Abstract: In this paper, I examine the intimate human activities of love, labour and care in the lives of disabled people as they are affected by contemporary austerity measures. Disabled people have suffered exponentially through the austerity politics of both the previous Coalition government and the current Conservative government. Significant cuts to a multitude of benefits and public services have exacerbated existing disability oppressions, and have ontologically, psychically, symbolically, materially, emotionally, and affectively stripped disabled people (amongst many other minorities) of their rights and access to justice. Love, labour and care are central here: disabled people are currently fighting, within deeply disablist contexts, to remain part of their communities; stay connected to their partners, children and families; find and stay in meaningful work; be appropriately housed; and participate in civil society – surviving on ever-shrinking incomes and a rolling back of the public services upon which the majority depend. As austerity bites and welfare is rolled back, more emphasis is placed upon individuals to take care of themselves and their loved ones, revealing the extent to which austerity demands ableist citizens. In this paper I begin by sketching out what constitutes the “ideal” intimate citizen, and its ableist underpinnings, before asking some critical questions of disabled people’s rights to and claims for intimate citizenship in an age of austerity (Plummer 2003).

Bio: Kirsty Liddiard is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate within the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield. Prior to this post, Kirsty became the inaugural Ethel Louise Armstrong Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Her work centres on the processes of disablism and ableism in the intimate lives of disabled people; this includes sex/uality, pleasure, sex work, family life, psycho-emotional disablism, parenting, and intimate rights, justice and activism. Kirsty incorporates co-production, the arts, and public sociology into her research. Kirsty lives happily with The Boy, The Kid and her cats Bill and Ted and drinks far too much Malibu.

Homo-psycho-pharmaceuticus: economic suicides and the global market in debility
China Mills, School of Education, University of Sheffield

In India and the UK (and many places besides), a growing number of suicides are recorded as being ‘due to economic reasons’, while some write their suicide notes directly implicating the Government for making their lives unliveable. A dominant and increasingly global lens to understand these suicides is to focus on individual psychologies, (re)formulating suicide as a ‘symptom’ of depression, and as amenable to, and preventable through, psycho-pharmaceuticals.
In this session, I want to look through a different lens and to ask a different sort of question. What if instead of understanding these ‘economic’ suicides as symptoms of depression, we understood them as the ultimate culmination of ‘slow death’ – the unequal wearing out of bodies and minds (some more than others) that is itself symptomatic of global capitalism and simultaneously profitable to global markets in debility? I want to situate this question within current politics of negative affect, while simultaneously recognising that this literature often overlooks the psycho-politics of disablement at work within parts of the global South.

Bio
China Mills is a Lecturer in Sheffield. Much of her research is around the politics of global mental health and the globalisation of psychiatric diagnoses.

Theorising disability and humanity
Dan Goodley and Rebecca Lawthom
Abstract
This chapter will draw upon some of our recent work with colleagues in Sheffield and Manchester in Britain[1] and in response to some inspiring writers and writings. Drawing on research projects and intellectual moments of engagement, the chapter considers the ways in which disability disavows normative constructions of the human. We use the term disavowal in its original psychoanalytic sense of the word: to simultaneously and ambivalently desire and reject something (in this case, the human). We will then clarify and expand upon this disavowal – with explicit reference to the politics of people with intellectual disabilities[2] – and make a case for the ways in which the human is (i) a category through which social recognition can be gained and (ii) a classification requiring expansion, extension and disruption. Indeed, an under-girding contention of this chapter is that people with intellectual disabilities are already engaged in what we might term a posthuman politics from which all kinds of human can learn. The chapter outlines seven reasons why we should ask what it means to be human. Then we will move to focus on four very human elements – support, frailty, capacity and desire – and disability’s place in redefining these elements.

[1] (www.dishuman.com).
[2] Throughout the chapter we will use interchangeably use the terms learning disability and intellectual disability to acknowledge the ways in which their different usage reflects different national contexts. Learning disability is preferred in Britain whereas intellectual disability is used in Australia and the States.

Dan Goodley is Professor of Disability Studies and Education at the University of Sheffield. His writing has sought to unravel and contest the dual process of ableism and disablism including Dis/ability Studies (2014, Routledge) and Disability Studies (2011, Sage). He is a father to two daughters, a keen Nottingham Forest FC football fan and a Beatles obsessive.

Rebecca Lawthom is Professor of Community Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work engages at the intersections of feminism, disability and migration. Publications include Community Psychology (Wiley Blackwell, 2011, with Kagan, Burton and Duckett) and Qualitative Methods in Psychology: A research guide (Open University Press, 2012, with Banister, Bunn, Burman, Daniels, Duckett, Parker, Runswick Cole, Sixsmith and Goodley). She loves Glastonbury Festival and the music of Ron Sexsmith.

Disability, childhood and the human: refusing monstrosity
Katherine Runswick-Cole, The Research Centre for Social Change: Community Wellbeing, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Abstract: In this paper, I consider the relationship between disability, childhood and the human drawing on a recently published paper (Goodley, Runswick-Cole and Liddiard, 2015). The aim is to reveal the historical markings of childhood disability as an object of both curiosity and of fear that have served to render disabled children as non-human monsters. In the period of modernity and the rise of capitalism, disability has been marked as antithetical to ‘the human”. And so, in order to refuse social and cultural contexts that have historically denied disabled children’s humanity and cast them as monstrous others, we draw on the developing theoretical notion of the DisHuman: a bifurcated complex that allows us to recognise disabled children’s humanity whilst also celebrating the ways in which disabled children reframe what it means to be human. Drawing on recent research, we explore the spaces where a DisHuman child emerges in moments in which sameness and difference, monstrosity/disability and in/humanity are invoked simultaneously.

Bio: Katherine Runswick-Cole is Senior Research Fellow in Disability Studies and Psychology and Deputy Director of The Research Centre for Social Change: Community Wellbeing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Katherine locates here work in critical disability studies (CDS). CDS seek to understand to understand and challenge exclusionary and oppressive practices associated with disablism and to consider the ways in which these intersect with other forms of marginalisation including hetero/sexism, racism, poverty and imperialism. Much of her research and publications focus on the lives of disabled children, young people and their families and, more recently, she has been working in coproduction with community partners to ask how people with the label of learning disabilities are faring in a time of austerity

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