Politicising Polio

Disability, Civil Society and Civic Agency in Sierra Leone

  • Diana Szántó

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxv
  2. Staging a Play (A Critical Ethnography of Disability)

  3. After the Play? (An Ethnographic Critique of Project Society)

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 151-151
    2. Diana Szántó
      Pages 153-183
    3. Diana Szántó
      Pages 185-219
    4. Diana Szántó
      Pages 253-281
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 283-313

About this book


This book examines disability in post-war Sierra Leone. Its protagonists are polio-disabled people living in the nation’s capital of Freetown, organizing themselves as best as they can in a state without welfare. There is little concrete support for people with disabilities in a country where the government is struggling with the competing requirements of the international community, demanding - in exchange for its support - good standards of democracy and the maintenance of a free market economy. To what extent is the Human Rights framework of the disability movement effective in protecting the polio-disabled and what are the limitations of this framework? Diana Szántó’s detailed ethnography reveals, through many real-life examples, the vulnerability of disabled people living in the intersections of poverty, informality and disability activism. At the same time, it also tells about the many ways the polio-disabled community is transforming vulnerability into strength.


disability studies Sierra Leone critical global health Social Work Post War Reconstruction West Africa Global South anthropology of Africa political anthropology poverty civil society democratization NGOs liberal peace governance agency disabled people’s organizations postcolonial studies

Authors and affiliations

  • Diana Szántó
    • 1
  1. 1.BudapestHungary

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-981-13-6110-4
  • Online ISBN 978-981-13-6111-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site