Big Society, Disability and Civil Society Research

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

31st July, 2015: Becoming Dishuman: re-thinking civil society through disability, 3rd Annual Trevor Parmenter Lecture The Centre for Disability Studies, The University of Sydney, New South Wales

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31st July, 2015: Becoming Dishuman: re-thinking civil society through disability,  3rd Annual Trevor Parmenter Lecture The Centre for Disability Studies, The University of Sydney, New South Wales

Dan Goodley, The University of Sheffield, and Katherine Runswick-Cole, Manchester Metropolitan University, were delighted to deliver the 3rd Annual Trevor Parmenter Lecture at the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Sydney. Trevor is currently Emeritus Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Sydney; Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Health Science at the University of Sydney and Adjunct Professor in the School of Rural Medicine at the University of New England. Trevor has a distinguished international career in the field of disability studies and is a Past President of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID). He is also renowned for his work associated with bridging the gap between academic practice and the self-advocacy of people with intellectual disabilities (the preferred term of Australia).

Dan and Katherine delivered their paper “Becoming Dishuman: re-thinking civil society through disability.” In their presentation they set out to consider how dis/ability might offer the possibility to re-think civil society concerns including: autonomy, independence, advocacy, politics and family. Drawing on their recent research project: Big Society? Disabled people with learning disabilities and civil society, Dan and Katherine explored the possibilities offered by disability to trouble, reshape and re-fashion notions of the human.

An audience of 60 people made up of disabled people, activists, academics, practitioners and family members attended the lecture.

The discussions that followed focused on the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the overlaps and divergence from the personalisation agenda in the UK. Dan and Katherine were also asked about the future of circles of support and how these can be developed and sustained in the UK and in Australia. There were also questions from audience members about the theoretical development of a ‘dishuman’ approach to disability studies and how this might impact on the lives of disabled people and social policy.

Dan Goodley said: “Katherine and I were honoured to be invited to present at the Trevor Parementer Lecture. This was a fantastic opportunity of us to share our recent research but also to learn about the changes in the Australian context in a time of austerity.

You can down load Goodley, D. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2014) Becoming dis/human: Thinking about the human through disability, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education here: http://www.mcgill.ca/igsf/files/igsf/becoming_dishuman_copy-libre.pdf

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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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