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Leadership and Disability Studies: Inclusive Development

Abstract

There can be little doubt that sociology has played a key role in our understanding of the process of disablement. Yet most sociologists have ignored the onset of disability as defined by activists and organizations controlled and run by disabled people. As a response, the latter half of the last century saw the rise of a radical critique of conventional thinking and research on disability in universities and colleges. All of which ultimately led to the creation of a new interdisciplinary area of critical enquiry: that of disability studies. Consequently, this paper traces the origins and subsequent activism of these developments with reference to world-leading protagonists in the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK).

Starting with the onset of capitalism and its detrimental effects on disabled people, this chapter demonstrates how the re-interpretation of disability by disabled activists during the 1970s has had an important impact on the perceptions and analysis of disability within and beyond universities and colleges in the UK and the USA. Although these developments were to be welcomed – as it signified a growing recognition of the importance of the issues raised – it also, as the chapter illustrates, needs to be treated with some caution. In particular, the recent and growing individualization of disability studies within the academy by some disability scholars signifies nothing less than a reaffirmation of traditional academic values and the effective de-politicization of the discipline with little relevance beyond the sterile confines of the university seminar room. Accordingly, the chapter argues it is a prerequisite that this stance is overcome and subordinated to the social model of disability in order to fully instigate a tangible sense of social justice/inclusion. Only then can the difficulties and obstacles facing disabled people be effectively opposed and overcome.

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Barnes, C., Prideaux, S. (2022). Leadership and Disability Studies: Inclusive Development. In: Rioux, M.H., Viera, J., Buettgen, A., Zubrow, E. (eds) Handbook of Disability. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-1278-7_22-1

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