DisAbling Women and Girls in Austere Times


  • Deborah Steinstra Mount Saint Vincent University


During the waves of neoliberal governments in the global North, disabled women and men have been greatly affected by austerity measures. Drawing on feminist disability theory and recent discussions of debility, I argue that neoliberalism and its austerity practices are evident in recent Canadian policies. In particular, feminist analysis of fitting/misfitting, debility, and capacity help us to understand the particular impacts on women with disabilities of these policy changes. In addition, building on Wendy Brown’s (2016) concept of sacrificial citizenship under neoliberalism, I illustrate the pervasive neoliberal tendencies at work in ongoing Canadian discussions of physician-assisted dying. These challenge and extend our understandings of the interplay between gender and disability in austere times. Résumé Durant les vagues de gouvernements néo-libéraux dans l’hémisphère Nord, les femmes et les hommes handicapés ont été gravement touchés par les mesures d’austérité. En m’appuyant sur la théorie féministe de l’invalidité et les récentes discussions sur la débilité, je soutiens que le néo-libéralisme et ses pratiques d’austérité sont en évidence dans les récentes politiques canadiennes. En particulier, l’analyse féministe de l’adaptation/inadaptation, de la débilité et de la capacité nous aide à comprendre les impacts particuliers de ces changements de politique sur les femmes handicapées. De plus, à partir du concept de citoyenneté sacrificielle sous le néo-libéralisme de Wendy Brown (2016), j’illustre les tendances néo-libérales omniprésentes qui sont en jeu dans les discussions canadiennes en cours sur la mort assistée par un médecin. Cela défie et élargit notre compréhension de l’interaction entre le genre et l’invalidité dans les périodes d’austérité.


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