Women and Men at Work: Livelihood Experiences of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) in West Bengal
Narratives of inactivity and dependence surrounding the persons with disability (PwD) often undermine the barriers erected by institutions mandated to support them. Whether educational or administrative, institutional failures at several levels prevent the PwDs from optimizing capabilities. Based on PhD research by the author on livelihoods of PwDs in Mandirbazar, a rural block in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, the present piece attributes the limited range and quality of livelihood choices of PwDs to institutional failures at several levels. This also challenges an individualistic understanding of disability. Documenting the work lives of the PwDs and illustrating their struggle to secure an economic foothold through a range of paid and unpaid work, the piece subjects the notion of “dependence” to greater scrutiny and argues that an overwhelming engagement with this narrative takes attention away from the fundamental issue institutional accountability. This chapter emphasizes that understanding livelihoods of PwDs requires deeper engagement with them and developing understanding of opportunities and barriers through their lens.
KeywordsDisability Work lives Experiences Policies Dependence
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