Subversive Status: Disability Studies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Authors

  • Lisa Pfahl Assistant Professor of Disability Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin
  • Justin J.W. Powell Professor of Sociology of Education University of Luxembourg

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v34i2.4256

Keywords:

disability studies, disciplines, discourse, social inequality, Germany, Austria, Switzerland

Abstract

What activities facilitate the development of disability studies (DS)? What barriers hinder its (multi)disciplinary flourishing? We address these questions focusing on contemporary DS in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland—vibrant but challenging locales for DS. This multidisciplinary field engages intellectuals, activists, and stakeholders to subversively cross disciplinary, institutional, and political divides. Critical DS scholarship relies on collaboration among members of the disability (rights) movement, advocates, and academics to develop its subversive status. Within the academy, despite general barriers to transdisciplinary fields of study and persistent disability discrimination, more positions have been devoted to research and teaching in DS. Intersectionality debates thrive and further disciplines discover the richness that the complex subject of dis/ability offers. The field, recognizing its subversive status and engaging insights from DS worldwide—across language and disciplinary boundaries—could better focus and unfold its critical powers. The potential of DS in the German-speaking countries continues to grow, with diverse conferences, teaching, and publications bolstering the exchange of ideas.

Keywords: disability studies, disciplines, discourse, social inequality, Germany, Austria, Switzerland

Downloads

Published

2014-03-18