Wednesday 4 April 2018 8.30 - 10.30P-1 - FAM16a : Disabilities, Partnership and Family across Time and Space
PFC/02/025 Sir Peter Froggatt Centre
In France, since the early 2000s, groups of people with disabilities have mobilized in order to elaborate new ways of thinking about their sexuality and about what a "sexual condition" of the disabled might look like. This paper proposes a socio-historical analysis of that situation: it looks into the 1950s ... (Show more)
In France, since the early 2000s, groups of people with disabilities have mobilized in order to elaborate new ways of thinking about their sexuality and about what a "sexual condition" of the disabled might look like. This paper proposes a socio-historical analysis of that situation: it looks into the 1950s and particularly into the writings of Jean Adnet, a disabled activist, who fought for the development of forms of love for the disabled. This case goes to show how the sex and love lives of the disabled were considered; it is also the description of a sexual protest, its trajectory, and then its failure. (Show less)
Gildas Bregain : The Changing Status of Blind Women in France (1900-1975): from Godly Celibate to Recognized ‘Housewives and Mothers’
This communication aims at analysing the transformations of the social and matrimonial status of the blind women in the Metropolitan France, from the beginning of the twentieth century until the beginning of the 1970's. At the beginning of the twentieth century, many protagonists (religious leaders, leaders of institutions for blind, ... (Show more)
This communication aims at analysing the transformations of the social and matrimonial status of the blind women in the Metropolitan France, from the beginning of the twentieth century until the beginning of the 1970's. At the beginning of the twentieth century, many protagonists (religious leaders, leaders of institutions for blind, etc.) try to convince the blind women to remain unmarried and to avoid any wedding with blind men. The aim is to avoid any hereditary transmission of blindness and to prevent these women from having children whom they could not supposedly handle. Several religious leaders assign the blind girls to the religious devotion because they consider the wedding of the blind women as a sin. For this reason, they create an associative movement of blind girls, the female section of the "Blind Crusade", whose action aims at encouraging the blind girls to become “Apostles of Christ” and to sacrifice their life for God. On the other side, some blind associative leaders, as well as blind women, militate from the 1930's so that the blind girls can learn how to carry out domestic tasks, or to practise some administrative tasks, in order to have a greater economic and social autonomy. These two points of view conflict during the 1950's, with the development of the teaching of the domestic tasks created by a blind woman, Marthe Henri, at the National Institute of the Young Blind. Some of the young girls who follow this teaching have the desire to marry and have children and that situation strongly upsets the chaplain of the Blind Crusade who advises to remove the lessons of domestic tasks if they urge the girls to be married. During the half of the twentieth century, in spite of the social pressure to prevent the blind women from marrying, many girls who study in some mixed institutions or take part in some blind associations, marry with blind men. Few blind girls marry with a seeing man. The end of the 1960's and the 1970's constitute a true split, with the promotion at the international and national scales of the right to maternity for the blind women. Nevertheless, the capacity of the blind women to exercise their maternity is widely mistrusted.
To explain the transformations of the social and matrimonial status of the blind women, it appears necessary to differentiate several entangled historical dynamics : the transformations of the policies to avoid or support the wedding and the maternity of the blind women ; the transformations of the social perception of the heterogamous wedding (between a blind woman and a seeing man) and homogamous wedding (between blind) ; the evolutions of the experience of the blind women who marry and become mothers. This research is based on the use of several sources : the audio-visual sources (radio and television), the reviews of the Blind Crusade and other associations (Sous son regard, etc.), the archives of several institutions (Association Valentin Hauy, Institut du Val Mandé in Paris, etc), and interviews. (Show less)
Kristin Bylund : Ableist Life-paths, Possible and Impossible Family Formations for People with Dis/abilities in the Pre Peak and Austerity Swedish Welfare State
Since 2009 a concrete dismantling of the right to personal assistance and other types of support services for people with dis/abilities have taken place. In this process ideas of family formation, gender and sexuality are at the same time overlooked and central. An estimated 300 people a year are suffering ... (Show more)
Since 2009 a concrete dismantling of the right to personal assistance and other types of support services for people with dis/abilities have taken place. In this process ideas of family formation, gender and sexuality are at the same time overlooked and central. An estimated 300 people a year are suffering a drastic cut or a complete withdrawal of their support, rendering them dependent on insufficient home help services or the goodwill of their families. The change in the Swedish welfare state complies with an all-European discourse of austerity in which cuts in support for sick and/or dis/abled people are seen as a solution for the economical struggles of the state.
McRuer amongst other Crip-theoretical scholars has presented the notion of ableism as a societal structure that continuously and promotes and safeguards the interest of those who are able to perform as abled- bodied. Culturally rendering those who cannot perform accordingly as dis/abled, deviant and in constant need of state support and control. Likewise, Butler and Ahmed have understood gender and possibilities of family formations as possibilities offered to those who can comply with a hegemonic heterosexual discourse.
These cultural understandings of dis/ability, gender and sexuality have been central to the structuring of the Swedish welfare state and can be understood as offering both practical and imaginative possibilities and impossibilities of family formation.
Aim and method:
The aim of this paper, which is mid-time in my PhD project, is to with the use of McRuer’s, Butler’s and Ahmed’s theoretical understandings of structure and possibility in relation to one another investigate how intersections of hegemonic cultural understandings dis/ability, gender and sexuality shape people with dis/abilities understandings of and means to family formation and relationships in relation to the welfare state.The empirical material consists of interviews carried out with people with dis/abilities in Sweden with different needs of support and service, age, gender, sexual identities and relationships.
Central questions are:
- What role does societal understandings of dis/ability, gender and sexuality play in the formation and alteration of the Swedish welfare state?
- What types of relationships or family formations are considered practically possible, culturally acceptable and/or encouraged in different times and what roles does the welfare state play in this?
- How do these understandings impact the life of people with dis/abilities?
Results and conclusions:
The paper presents a historical outline of the Swedish welfare state’s approach to dis/ability as well as empirical examples of contemporary lived experiences of people with dis/abilities in Sweden. Highlighting the intersections of ableism, gender and sexuality, how these are implicitly or explicitly communicated through the welfare state and how this shapes the possibilities to imagine and act out desires and wants. This offers both theoretical and empirical examples of the past, present and future possible life-paths offered by the welfare state. Making it possible to uncover and analyse the relationship between the induvial and structural in terms of power, ability and resources. (Show less)
Karin Ljuslinder , Josefine Wälivaara : Families, Relationships, and Futures: Portrayals of Disability in Swedish Cinema
Media can be said to be key to how contemporary society understands disability.
Traditional and digital media are such a big part of our everyday life that we dare to say that media are society’s most far-reaching and pervasive (re)producer of cultural values which has an enormous impact on cultural ... (Show more)
Media can be said to be key to how contemporary society understands disability.
Traditional and digital media are such a big part of our everyday life that we dare to say that media are society’s most far-reaching and pervasive (re)producer of cultural values which has an enormous impact on cultural notions of disability. Thus, media representations in both fiction and non-fiction must be subjected to critical scrutiny.
Alison Kafer (2013) claims that disability, from a normative life course perspective, often has been derogatory represented as the site of ”no future”. The taken-for-granted logic behind this expected life course chart child, adolescent, adult, productivity, progenity, retirement, and death of a white, cis-gendered, nondisabled person, is one of teleological progress (Browne 2014). This way of thinking delimits our understanding of what is possible in life. Instead one could, as Rice et. al (2016), discuss ”disability futurities” and that way open up for representations of liveable disabilities; possibilities of living with a disability.
The aim of the paper is to analyse depictions of disability focusing on relationships, family and futures in order to investigate societal and normative views on people with disabilities. With empirical examples from Swedish fiction film portraying protagonists with disabilities from 1980 – 2016, we study hegemonical normativity represented and how the protagonists relate to that normativity. Through the analysis of fictional narratives of family, partnership and futures for people with disabilities, we may expose how normative structures of ableism have an impact on how we normalize certain life narratives and if these are promoted or challenged in fiction.
The specific questions addressed are:
• How is the family portrayed, i.e. what does the family constellation look like? What is the role of the character with disability in the family? What is her/his relationship to the family?
• Outside of the family, what relationships are portrayed? What other relationships are deemed important to the protagonist?
• Is, and in that case how, disability represented as liveable (as in having a future)? What futures are imagined in the representation of the disabled person within the family and her/his relationships? (Show less)
Paul van Trigt : Equal Reproduction Rights? The Right to have a Family in the United Nations’ Disability Policy since the 1970s
With the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2006 disability as an issue of human rights and international law can no longer be ignored. The history of this convention can be traced back to the 1970s, when disability was framed for the first time ... (Show more)
With the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2006 disability as an issue of human rights and international law can no longer be ignored. The history of this convention can be traced back to the 1970s, when disability was framed for the first time as a human rights issue. One of the recurrent topics of debate during this trajectory was the right of people with disabilities to have a family. This right was not self-evident at all and was evaluated very differently by representatives at the global level. Moreover, there was a potential tension between disability rights and UN policies that discouraged the reproduction of people with disabilities.
Therefore, I will ‘follow’ the right to have a family in the United Nations disability policy since the 1970s. The conceptual history of the family in relation to disability at the global level has been a rather neglected field of enquiry when compared to other concepts such as gender and race. In my paper I will investigate the following cases from a conceptual history point of view: how, by whom and why was the right to have a family framed? The cases I propose to present are the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975), the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) with the theme ‘full participation and equality’, the International Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992), the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993) and the UNCRPD in 2006.
The trajectory of the right of people with disabilities to have a family that becomes visible from these cases, will be compared with the framing of this right in other UN reproduction policies and situated in the recent debates about the history of human rights and reproduction policies. (Show less)