Reports on the materiality of disability in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic from a damaged land

Nádia Meinerz, Débora Allebrandt, Agaítalo Vasconcelos Júnior


This article aims to describe changes in the routine of people with disabilities in face of Covid19 pandemic and the ongoing coping measures underway in the state of Alagoas, in northeast Brazil. Data from in-depth interviews with subjects marked by different experiences of visual, hearing, motor and intellectual impairment are analyzed here. Participants are part of an extension project, started in 2019, under the responsibility of the first author of this article. The project changed the routine of the university in face of the presence, circulation and engagement of bodies and minds that escape the conventions of normality in the academic space. The interactions, mediated by a series of applications of digital communication, addressed the following issues: 1) the loss of individual and/or family income resulting from the pandemic, and its impact on their material conditions of existence; 2) the emergence of new demands related to physical and mental health as well as changes in previous therapeutic strategies; 3) the characterization of access to communication technologies, the new possibilities and restrictions for maintaining extra-family bonds, such as contact with friends, participation in social mobilizations and in academic activities. In the analysis, we focused on the mutual dynamics of care, especially the engagement in support and assistance practices from family and friends. The attention to changes in the environment from the different collective demands in face of the pandemic exposes some displacements in the ways of embodying disability as well as the ability to give powerful responses to complex demands for adaptation. The intersection between different social markers of difference, like race, gender and class is also central to the identification of continuities, which involve the pre-existence of physical distance as a reality of disability.


body multiple; sympoiesis; intersectionality; University Extension; regional inequality


Copyright (c) 2021 Nádia Meinerz, Débora Allebrandt, Agaítalo Vasconcelos Júnior

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ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)