Gender, feminism and the project of critical disability studies (CDS)

Wilde, Alison and Fish, Rebecca orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1933-1769 (2024) Gender, feminism and the project of critical disability studies (CDS). Disability & Society . -. ISSN 0968-7599

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In an era where basic ‘rights’ have been eroded on all fronts (e.g. income, employment, access, health and social care), we argue that acknowledgement of the contributions of disabled women, and collaborative action to improve the positions of disabled people in the academy is crucial. We highlight the need to understand how disabled women’s contributions to the development of theory were pivotal to the development of theories of disability, not least in a synthesis of experiential approaches with those which focus on social barriers. We show how disabled women’s contributions were fundamental to the specific development of Critical Disability Studies (CDS), but that they are increasingly excluded in current academic contexts. We discuss intersectional examples of disablism, and assess the value and inter-relationships of various feminist and Disability Studies/CDS approaches, raising questions about how they could be harnessed in alternative ways, in service of campaigns for disabled people’s rights.

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