Big Society, Disability and Civil Society Research

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

5th August, 2015: Disability, Austerity, Resistance Seminar at the University of New South Wales, Australia

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Members of the research team Dan Goodley (Sheffield) Toby Brandon (Northumbria) and Katherine Runswick-Cole (Manchester Metropolitan) visited the University of New South Wales today to take part in a seminar session focused on disability and austerity and the possibility for resistance.

Toby Brandon began the session with his presentation Hating Disability and Austerity in the UK. Toby explored the relationship between austerity and disablist hate crime in the UK. He described the increased querying of disability identity, alongside the rise of ableism and sanism. The retraction of welfare as part of a neo-liberal agenda has created new ways to exclude disabled people. Toby drew upon the voices of disabled people and developing theory within disability and mad studies to explore how to frame, examine and challenge these new threatening discourses.

Dan Goodley and Katherine Runswick-Cole followed Toby with their presentation co-authored with Rebecca Lawthom (MMU) Back to Worthy Farm to reclaim our humanity: JusticeforLB and the productive potential of debility politics. Dan and Katherine asked what does a politics of debility look like? How might we harness it, come together and collectively agitate around a politics of debility? Drawing on recent activism in the UK ( to find a productive way forward in a time of neo-liberal ableism and austerity-as-ideology, they concluded by calling for a time of debility politics.


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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