DRF Seminars


1. 18th December 2012 (Tues) 2pm-3.30pm

Slot 1: Michelle Darby and Lucia Coello-Lage (Undergraduate Disability Research Forum)

Slot 2: Katherine Runswick-Cole (Research Institute of Health and Social Change, Department of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK): (Neuro)diversity: pros and cons for (neoliberal) social policy

Abstract: This paper sets out to explore the term ‘neurodiversity’ and to examine the potential and limitations of ‘a politics of neurodiversity’ (Singer, 1999) in a neoliberal social policy context. This work in progress seeks to problematise the notions of neurodiversity and neo-liberal social policy and to explore the possibilities of a politics of dismodernity (Davis, 2003).

Followed by Christmas Tea!


2. 9th January 2013 (Weds) 12pm-2pm Themed Seminar **Youth and Disability**

Slot 3: Jenny Slater (Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion, Sheffield Hallam University, UK): “You’re not, I mean… I know you’re not, but I have to ask, you’re not… sexually active, are you?” Youth, disability and sexuality

Slot 4: Ezekiel Isanda Oweya: (Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa): Experiences of African disabled youth living in rural Rift Valley to find and sustain livelihoods


3. 13th February 2013 (Weds) 4.30pm-6pm Themed Seminar **What is Critical Disability Studies, and what does it mean for Practitioners?**

Slot 5: Dan Goodley (Department of Education, University of Sheffield, UK): What is critical disability studies?

Abstract: Recently there has been discussion about the emergence of critical disability studies (Campbell, 2009; Shildrick, 2009; Meekosha and Shuttleworth, 2009; Goodley, 2011; Morgan, 2012; Shildrick, 2012). In this paper I provide an inevitably partial and selective account of this trans-disciplinary space through reference to a number of emerging insights including theorizing through materialism; bodies that matter; inter/trans-sectionality; global disability studies and self and Other. I briefly disentangle these themes and suggest that while we may well start with disability we often never end with it as we engage with other transformative arenas including feminist, critical race and queer theories. Yet, a critical disability studies reminds us of the centrality of disability when we consider the politics of life itself. In this sense, then, disability becomes entangled with other forms of oppression and revolutionary responses. I will finish with some thoughts on the recent backlash to critical disability studies by some misguided critics who peddle an anti-theoretical stance while firmly holding to some implicit theories of their own.

Slot 6: Mark Haydon-Laurelut (University of Portsmouth, UK): Critical disability studies: implications for practitioner research and therapeutic practice in services for adults with intellectual disabilities

Abstract: A critical orientation unsettles clinical, therapeutic and agency practices more generally, via it’s locating objects of knowledge in these spaces such as ‘Challenging behaviour’, ‘Therapy’, or ‘Pathological demand avoidance syndrome’, as made products of particular social world. Critical disability studies (CDS) explores the creation of and resistance to disablement and disabling social worlds. In this talk I will reflect on some of the implications of my engagement with CDS as a therapist and researcher.


4. 14th March 2013 (Mon) 2pm-4pm

Slot 7: Mitzi Waltz (Sheffield Hallam University, UK): Autism and affective labour: Examining economically empowering and disempowering practices in hiring and employment

In recent years much has been written and said about the employment prospects and experiences of adults with autism. A plethora of self-help books and professional literature has been published in response to the dire employment statistics for adults with an autism spectrum diagnosis in almost every Western nation: in the UK, only about 15 percent of adults with autism are in full-time employment. Much of this research has focused on matching individuals with the “right” jobs (for example, Grandin and Duffy, 2008), and on encouraging employers to consider the benefits autistic employees may have for their businesses (for example, National Autistic Society, 2004).

However, the difficulties faced by adults with autism can also be seen as an extreme expression of a trend that affects almost all adults in today’s workplace: The rising importance of what sociologist Arlie Hochschild (2012) has called “emotional labour,” and Hardt and Negri (2001) have termed “affective labour.” This can be defined as work for which the primary object is the creation or maintenance of the emotions of others. The most obvious arenas for affective labour are fields like advertising and sales, but in fact it has become an expected core competency everywhere from academic life, where we administrations appear to be more interested in selling the “student experience” than ensuring students are well educated, to office dynamics based on “fitting in” rather than actual job competency.

In this presentation, I will examine some of the ways that the human resources industry has erected barriers to employment based on affective labour competency, and the difficulties adults with autism (and no doubt many others…) experience when encountering these. I hope to also generate some ideas for participatory and emancipatory research aimed at revealing and dismantling these.

Slot 8: Jonathan Harvey (The Open University, UK): Insider/outsider status: negotiating the complexity of life

Abstract: In this paper I will explore some of the methodological complexities that I have had to consider before embarking on my doctoral research. In my research I aim to explore the lives of people who have sustained an acquired brain injury. After sustaining a traumatic brain injury in 2003, I initially felt that I was ideally placed as an ‘insider’ to explore the lives and experiences of others who had sustained similar injuries. However, upon further reflection I am not sure how much of an advantage having similar experiences to my participants will have.

Initially, I will set out the difference between the method we use to complete research, and the methodological decisions we make. I will continue by arguing for a poststructuralist approach to research that encourages us to view self-identity as a series of interconnecting characteristics that are constantly in motion. In embracing this notion, to statically conceive oneself as an ‘insider’ could be a problematic assumption to make. The fact that I have sustained a traumatic brain injury means that I will have similar experiences to my fellow participants. However, these similarities are in a single area of my life. I would like to believe that I (and my prospective participants too) are made up of many different facets which combine to make us who we are. My experiences of brain injury, will without doubt aid my path during data collection, but I am sure there will still be obstacles to overcome.


5. 15th April 2013 (Mon) 11am-1pm

Slot 9: Harriet Cooper (Birkbeck College, University of London, UK) No Time to Lose: Childhood Time following the Diagnosis of an Impairment in Babyhood

How does the diagnosis of an impairment in babyhood affect the baby’s experience of time? When a doctor delivers a prognosis which maps out a particular kind of future for the baby, how does this pronouncement interrupt the flow of childhood time? How does the time of the present, and that of the future, feel for the child in question? This paper will explore these questions by reflecting on my own (mediated) experience of the diagnosis of my physical impairment at the age of eleven months.

If the ‘normal’ child represents futurity, as Lee Edelman has suggested in his critique of the hegemony of “reproductive futurism” (2004: 2), what is the place of the disabled child, who “might not even have a future at all” (Mollow 2012: 288)? Mollow suggests that the disabled child is in fact brought inside the dominant order via the ideology of “‘rehabilitative futurism’” (2012: 288), which contains within it the ableist fantasy that, through rehabilitation, the disabled child can become ‘normal’.

What does it feel like to be the subject of “rehabilitative futurism” before one has words to describe this subjection? This paper offers some personal reflections on how the medical practices of diagnosis and rehabilitation alter the pre-verbal child’s experience of present and future time.

Slot 10: Nick Hodge (Sheffield Hallam University, UK): A Social Model of Behaviour

This paper will evaluate how different models of disability might inform understandings of how people respond to the behaviours of others. It will critique some of the current conceptions of challenging behaviour and suggest how these might be reframed to lead to more respectful and enabling practices within a rights led agenda.




Event: 4th Annual International Conference ***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane*** Conference Title: Precarious Positions: Encounters with Normalcy

Date/Place: Tues. 3rd – Wed. 4th September 2013 – Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Hosted by: Dept. of Education, Childhood and Inclusion + Disability Research Forum, Sheffield Hallam University in association with University of Chester, Manchester Metropolitan University + the University of Sheffield.


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