In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

35 one From Liberal to Neoliberal Futures of Disability Rights-­Based Inclusionism, Ablenationalism, and the Able-­Disabled This opening chapter continues a conversation begun in the introduction by examining disability’s grudging admission to normative social institutions through inherently neoliberal forms of redress. We perform this analysis by mapping some key coordinates of politicized normalization strategies extant in post-­ Fordist capitalism largely intended to ameliorate wider historical exclusions from the body politic. In order to do so, we address four related systems of integration for disabled people that ultimately result in further degrees of marginalization for the many: 1) deinstitutionalization efforts undermined by austerity cuts to key services such as in-­ home personal assistance care; 2) liberal leftist backlash against the homogenizing aesthetics and ecological unfriendliness of universal design as a principle of accessibility to public spaces; 3) international disability-­based claims of American exceptionalism that operate by shaming developing countries with respect to their neglectful treatment of disabled people; and 4) nationalist-­ inflected media portrayals of celebrity cyborgs who are provided as false evidence of the rehabilitation-­ military postindustrial state’s inclusion commitments to providing hyper-­ compensatory supports for disabled people. All of these issues arise within the geopolitics of neoliberalism as a result of claims that disability integration in postindustrial countries is now complete and a preeminent sign of their successful arrival at modernity. The analyses to come refer to two key nodal points in the neoliberal management of disability: (1) “ablenationalism” with regard to the use of disability by nations and mul- 36 the biopolitics of disability tinational corporate/charity industries as a basis for promoting American exceptionalism abroad; and (2) representational spaces of cyborgian overcompensation we call “the able-­ disabled” wherein excessive displays of body supplementation are trafficked globally as signs of the completion (even transcendence) of the limitations of disabled bodies. Both of these tactics prove operative within the logic of democratic rights-­based models of inclusionism as they take the integration of impaired bodies (either through the granting of formerly withheld civic rights and/or prosthetic supplementation ) as the foundational marker of inclusionism’s critical accomplishment. The hope spurred by these misleading representational tactics signify the long overdue historical address of devalued embodiments pinning for love by nation states in which their lives have been excessively circumscribed, excluded, abused, neglected, as well as socially and materially eviscerated. How does the effort to gain entrance to the democratic franchise of citizenship function as a tenuous tactic for accomplishing more meaningful levels of participation by disabled people? The power of this tactic, we argue, primarily rests on making disability knowable within the parameters of heteronormativity (i.e., to see disability as less differentiated from other conditions of embodiment and, therefore, within the range of the “normal” rather than deviant). Thus, the normalization of disability in the political arena has, for better and worse, shaped progressive goals with respect to the demands of neoliberalism. A weak strain of accommodation develops as a result of efforts to flatten out the dynamic materiality of disability through claims of its likeness to other forms of diverse embodiment and approximations of normalcy. In his blog entry on Stims, Stammers and Winks, Zach Richter explains “Ableliberalism” as the contradictory premise that support for disability assists corporate and governmental interests but not necessarily disabled people themselves: When access is put into action in disability policy, its function is not actually to support disabled people but often either to make money from disabled people (and fuel the social services and healthcare industries), to make it look like the government is supporting disabled people or to normalize disabled people. We will extend this analysis into our case studies of austerity cuts, universal accessibility backlash, and the ablenationalism to come, but for now suffice From Liberal to Neoliberal Futures of Disability 37 it to say that neoliberal disability couches its rhetoric of assistance in terms that mask the institutional interests it serves. Throughout these discussions we trace disability from a scapegoated and incarcerated form of difference within liberal eugenics to a limited form of inclusionism within late liberal capitalism. Our argument regarding this historical transition in the social treatment of disability centers on a shift from Fordist to post-­ Fordist economic contexts in the West.Nonnormative positivist methodology provides an ability to chart profound alterations in disability’s social utility when economic emphases alter from a concentration on normative modes of mass production to an alternative emphasis on mass market-­ based consumption strategies. This ouster of...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.