Contesting the Neoliberal Affects of Disabled Parenting: Toward a Relational Emergence of Disability

  • Kelly Fritsch


This chapter addresses how dominant cultural discourses of disabled parenting, especially disabled mothering, re-enforce disability as located in an individual body. It begins by mapping out the extensive social barriers faced by disabled parents. Next, in tracing out the narrative accounts of disabled mothers appearing in popular media, it shows how neoliberal processes of capacitating disabled people as parents sustain and celebrate disability as an individual problem that can be overcome by an inclusive society. It further shows how disabled people are hailed to feel good about being capacitated into ideal normative mothers through neoliberal forms of care. The problem, then, is that disabled mothers, by coming to feel good about themselves, or in being hailed to feel good by others in order to feel like good mothers, re-inscribe normative forms of parenting that support neoliberal forms of care that capacitate some as the successful abled-disabled, while leaving others to wither. In contrast, in its last section this chapter marks how disabled mothering emerges relationally within and between bodies, placing the emphasis on what can be created together without re-inscribing individual accounts of overcoming disability, or through evoking creative individual solutions in the face of austerity.


Chronic Pain Disable People Disable Person Good Mother Disable Woman 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly Fritsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Women & Gender Studies and the Technoscience Research UnitUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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