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How are norms challenged by disabilities?

Les normes interrogées par le handicap

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Published on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

This 9th conference aims to discuss the construction of normality and, more broadly, the system of thought that structures our societies in which being “able” is the norm in the sense of both the most widespread and the most desirable situation. The aim of this critical perspective is therefore to highlight how our societies are structured in relation to the notion of the able individual. While the recent call to build inclusive societies would appear to herald a radical turning point, what is the reality? Have we truly finished with representations of disability that tend towards the negative, the defective or even the tragic? To what extend are the “heroized” figures of disability, omnipresent in the public space, perpetrating the representation of disability as a deviation from the norm?

Announcement

Alter Conference - 2021 - EHESP - Rennes (France), 8-9 April 2021

Presentation

Further to the cancellation of the Alter 2020 conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are renewing the call for proposals on “norms interrogated by disabilities” for the Alter 2021 conference. It will take place in Rennes on April 8th and 9th, 2021. The theme of this conference seems more topical than ever and we would like to add the possibility to submit communications more specifically related to the crisis linked to the pandemic that we are going through (see at the end of the call). Proposals accepted in 2020 will be automatically accepted without further evaluation (unless there is a major change). However, you will have to submit them on the Alter2021 site to indicate your intention to participate. New proposals are welcome. This conference is scheduled onsite, providing the evolution of the COVID 19 epidemic and travel and grouping restrictions that may force us to consider alternative organisational conditions.

This call for papers is directed at everyone involved in human and social science research on disability and the loss of autonomy: including work that addresses conceptional and organisational aspects of research, field research, scientific production, qualitative and quantitative methods, etc. Responses from all social fields are welcome (education, employment, culture and recreation, housing, transport, human and technical assistance, political participation, emotional and sexual life, etc.).

This 9th conference aims to discuss the construction of normality and, more broadly, the system of thought that structures our societies in which being “able” is the norm in the sense of both the most widespread and the most desirable situation. The aim of this critical perspective is therefore to highlight how our societies are structured in relation to the notion of the able individual. While the recent call to build inclusive societies would appear to herald a radical turning point, what is the reality? Have we truly finished with representations of disability that tend towards the negative, the defective or even the tragic? To what extend are the “heroized” figures of disability, omnipresent in the public space, perpetrating the representation of disability as a deviation from the norm?

Although the questioning of the ableist point of view organises disability studies, it is only developed in restricted areas of research about disabilities and this conference aims at opening them up.

To what extent does this notion help us to understand and question the construction of normality at work in our societies and our research? What does the concept of ableism contribute in comparison to other approaches like discrimination, segregation, oppression? The critical approach based on ableism is spreading beyond the field of disability to question health or capacity inequalities. It meets, for example, the analysis made by sociologists working on ageing who highlight how important are the norms of the young, active and independent person and the representations of the old people in need of care as dependent; they show different forms of ageism operating in our societies.

The conference will revolve around transversal issues such as:

  • Definitions, issues and uses of the concept of norms: including the relation between activist and scientific uses of the concept: what congruences and tensions they elicit? Whether disability studies can be a tool for emancipatory action; epistemological and methodological considerations.
  • Research design and subjects: including issues/ questions such as: can we still claim to conduct a “neutral” research on disability? Can academic standards (especially peer review) accept a step aside from the non-disabled point of view? Do we need (and if so how) to identify “where we are coming from” and via which research devices can we highlight and overcome our “unthoughts”? Participation of people directly involved is currently identified as a prime way to escape unconceived ideas and bias; what are the issues and the conditions (concrete, ethical, epistemological), the benefits and the limits of this participation?
  • Discriminations on the grounds of disability (and in a broader sense health issues, age, etc.). Besides direct discriminations, there are also indirect discriminations, thought frameworks implying a “self-evident” norm based on non-disabled individuals, a distinction between “us” and “them” – including in “positive” action and so-called “inclusive” policies where equality might not always be met. Can the expansion of a right to non-discrimination get along with disability policies initiated a century ago? These are still policies of accessibility, with what they say about a shift (or not) in norms of reference. We are interested in an intersectional perspective, in articulations between the categories of domination (able, male, bourgeois, white…), as well as on the empirical level (relations between feminist, antiracist, disabled movements).
  • Representations of individuals in the research. Does the criticism of ableism reproduce the distinction between able/disabled people or does it question it? Which definitions of people with disabilities does the criticism of ableism question? How are they labelled in research (service users, social actors, surveyed individuals, disabled persons, persons with disabilities, vulnerable persons, etc.) and what does this implicate? Does this opened perspective help us in articulating differently dependence and autonomy? Or does it only show how much contemporary societies are tied to a fantasy of an “average norm” and how much they struggle to include a plurality of human functioning?

Workshops and discussions will also be organised to examine this reflection in accordance with specific themes and areas of social life:

  • education, training and debates concerning inclusion;
  • the place of disabled persons in work and employment;
  • emotional, sexual, reproductive and family life;
  • access to leisure activities and culture;
  • relationships with the body and access to health;
  • accessibility and mobility;
  • life at home and in specialist institutions;
  • experiences and experiential knowledge of disability;
  • political and civic life, etc.

The research presented can relate to present times or present a historical perspective. The scientific committee will favour proposals that present innovative and original results in the field of social science research on disability.

* COVID 19 *: Proposals related to the COVID 19 pandemic are also welcome. They can be part of the specific theme of the conference or relate more broadly to disability or chronic health issues. To what extent has the crisis revealed, increased or redrawn the differences in social treatment between people, according to their health characteristics, functional limitations, or living conditions: for example, in access to care, in lockdown rules, or in the organization of care? Has it confirmed, tightened or moved the ordinary standards used to organize differentiated treatments (access to intensive care, organisation of establishments, removal of certain activities, etc.)? Has it contributed to reveal that some vulnerabilities are more widely shared than what the reference to the “valid” individual norm suggests? To what extent have the standards of ordinary life of certain people with chronic health problems or disabilities become, temporarily or more durably, the reference for the whole population (especially in prevention of new contaminations)? What does the attribution of a “vulnerable” label to categories of population that previously did or did not necessarily consider themselves as such (overweight people, individuals over 65, etc.) produce on these people, on their relatives, on professionals, on protection/restriction measures? Proposals will analyse how social divisions and inequalities appeared and combined (related to health status, insecure economic situation, territory, place of life, gender, origin, etc.).

Submission Guidelines

The conference languages will be English and French. Junior and senior researchers are welcome to participate.

Before submitting your paper, please create your sciencesconf account. This account gives you access to the Sciencesconf platform and all the sites of the conference: Sciencesconf-Registration.

1st October 2020 will be the deadline for submission of proposals (title, short presentation of the authors, summary of the presentation/3000 signs max. ; indicate the problem, methods and results) at the following website address: https://alterconf2021.sciencesconf.org/

You will be notified regarding the acceptance of the abstracts and session proposals by December 2020.

Organisational committee

  • Bertrand Louis, EHESS, CEMS (FRE 2023-U1276)
  • Brégain Gildas, CNRS, CoRHASi, ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Campeon Arnaud, EHESP, CoRHASI, ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Cuenot Marie, EHESP, CoRHASi
  • Delourmel Véronique, EHESP
  • Fillion Emmanuelle, EHESP, CoRHASi, ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Guevel Marie-Renée, EHESP, CoRHASi, ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Godeau Emmanuelle, EHESP, CoRHASI, Inserm-SPHERE (UMR 1027), ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Jaffrès Fanny, EHESP, CoRHASi, Cresppa-LabToP (UMR 7217)
  • Mafféi Régine, EHESP
  • Moreau Delphine, EHESP, CoRHASi, ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Payen Emeline, EHESP
  • Pierre Kerri-Anne, EHESP
  • Rapegno Noémie, EHESP, CoRHASi, ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Roussel Pascale, EHESP, CoRHASi
  • Sopadzhiyan Alis, EHESP, CoRHASI, ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Valdes Béatrice, EHESP, CoRHASi, ARENES (UMR 6051)
  • Ville Isabelle, EHESS and INSERM, CEMS (FRE 2023-U1276)

Scientific commitee

  • Baar Monika, Leiden University, Netherlands
  • Baudot Pierre-Yves, Université Paris Dauphine, France
  • Bertrand Louis, EHESS, CEMS (FRE 2023-U1276)
  • Brégain Gildas, CNRS, France
  • Brulé Emeline, School of Engineering and Informatics of Sussex, United-Kingdom
  • Campéon Arnaud, EHESP, France
  • Cuenot Marie, EHESP, France
  • Dirringer Josepha, Université Rennes 1, France
  • Fillion Emmanuelle, EHESP, France
  • Gardien Ève, Université Rennes 2, France
  • Godeau Emmanuelle, EHESP, France
  • Godrie Baptiste, Université de Montréal, Canada
  • Guevel Marie-Renée, EHESP, France
  • Jaffrès Fanny, EHESP, France
  • Lejeune Aude, CNRS, France
  • Marcellini Anne, Université de Lausanne, Suisse
  • Mitra Sophie, Fordham University, USA
  • Moreau Delphine, EHESP, France
  • Moscoso Melania, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Espagne
  • Probst Isabelle, Haute Ecole de santé de Vaud (HESAV), Switzerland
  • Rapegno Noémie, EHESP, France
  • Reaume Geoffrey, York University, Canada
  • Revillard Anne, Sciences Po, France
  • Sherlaw William, EHESP, France
  • Sopadzhiyan Alis, EHESP, France
  • Tabin Jean-Pierre, Haute école de travail social et de la santé Lausanne (HES-SO), Switzerland
  • Valdès Béatrice, EHESP, France
  • Van Trigt Paul, Leiden University, Netherlands
  • Ville Isabelle, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), France
  • Winance Myriam, Cermes3-Inserm, France
  • Wright Stephanie, University of Sheffield, United-Kingdom

Indicative references

Bardeau, J.-M., 1977, Infirmités et inadaptation sociale–un regard politique sur l’infirmité, Paris, Payot.

Campbell, F.K., 2001. Inciting Legal Fictions: "Disability’s" date with Ontology and the Ableist Body of the Law. Griffith Law Review, vol. 10, n° 1 : 42–62.

Campbell, F.K., 2008, Refusing Able(ness): A Preliminary Conversation about Ableism. Journal Media/Culture, vol. 11, n°3. http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/46.

Campbell, F.K., 2008. Exploring internalised Ableism using critical race theory, Disability & Society, 23(2): 151-162.

Davis, L.,1995, Enforcing Normality: Disability, Deafness and the Body, London, Verso.

Feder Kittay, E., 2015, Quality of life and the desire for normalcy: Problems, prospects, and possibilities in the life of people with severe cognitive disability, ALTER, European Journal of disability Research, vol. 9, n° 3: 175–185.

Goodley D., 2017, Dis/ability studies: theorising disableism and ableism, London, New York, Routledge.

Shakespeare, T., 2006, Disability rights and wrongs, New York: Routledge.

Tabin J.-P., Piecek M., Perrin C., Probst I., 2019, Repenser la normalité. Perspectives critiques sur le handicap, Lormont, Le Bord de l’eau.

Watson, N. & Vehmas, S., 2016, Exploring normativity in Disability Studies, Disability and Society, vol. 31, n° 1: 1-16.

Winance, M., 2004, Handicap et Normalisation. Analyse des transformations du rapport à la norme dans les institutions et les interactions, Politix, vol. 17, n° 66: 201-227.

Places

  • Rennes, France (35)

Date(s)

  • Thursday, October 01, 2020

Attached files

Keywords

  • disabilities ; ableism ; norms ; discriminations

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Noémie Rapegno
    courriel : noemie [dot] rapegno [at] ehesp [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« How are norms challenged by disabilities? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, https://calenda.org/791971

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