Big Society, Disability and Civil Society Research

Website for ESRC research project 'Big Society? Disabled People with Learning Disabilities and Civil Society'

Disability, Austerity & Cruel Optimism

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New article here: http://cjds.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cjds/article/view/213

Disability, Austerity and Cruel Optimism in Big Society: Resistance and “The Disability Commons”

Katherine Runswick-Cole, Daniel Goodley

Disability, Austerity and Cruel Optimism in Big Society: Resistance and “The Disability Commons”

Katherine Runswick-Cole, Daniel Goodley

Abstract

This paper draws on Berlant’s (2011) concept of “‘cruel optimism”’ as it manifests itself in the lives of disabled people with learning disabilities living in England in a time of Big Society. We argue that Big Society offers a cluster of promises to disabled people with learning disabilities: citizenship, empowerment, community, social action and a route out of (or protection from) poverty. However, we suggest that these promises have been repeatedly offered and repeatedly denied and remain tantalizingly out of reach. While drawing attention to the injustices disabled people with learning disabilities face in Big Society, we also attend to the ways in which they are working the spaces of neoliberalism in order to resist “‘their designation as disposable bodies”’ (Tyler 2013: 224).

Keywords

Disability; Austerity; Cruel Optimism; Big Society

“‘their designation as disposable bodies”’ (Tyler 2013: 224).

Keywords

Disability; Austerity; Cruel Optimism; Big Society
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Author: Katherine RC

Katherine is Research Fellow in Disability Studies and Psychology at the Research Institute for Health and Social Change at Manchester Metropolitan University

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