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The Bureaucratic Making of Disability

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Making use of interpretive methods of social inquiry, informed by disability studies, I show how the Western bureaucratic orientation is particularly troubled by those unable to keep the rules. Disability is, today, a term used to delineate such an inability. Exploring the meaning of bureaucratic definitions of disability can help us learn something about the organising force of bureaucracy on our lives. In particular, this paper explores a paradox found within the bureaucratic orientation whereby disability is conceptualised as lack of function resulting in an inability to keep the rules that is, nonetheless, managed by the imposition of further rules that need to be kept. Ultimately, this paper tries to reveal what becomes of disability under bureaucratic control not only to learn something about how bureaucracy works but also to learn something about how disability is made meaningful.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2020

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  • new formations is an inter-disciplinary journal of culture, politics and theory. It covers a wide range of issues, from the seduction of perversity to questions of nationalism and postcolonialism.

    'essential reading for those who want to understand politics in the light of the most important trends in contemporary theory' Chantal Mouffe.

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