Political Intersectionality and Disability Activism: Approaching and Understanding Difference and Unity

Evans, Elizabeth. 2022. Political Intersectionality and Disability Activism: Approaching and Understanding Difference and Unity. The Sociological Review, 70(5), pp. 986-1004. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Social movement scholars have increasingly examined how political intersectionality helps reveal and explain whose issues and interests are marginalised or privileged within particular activist spaces and discourses. Hitherto, much of the intersectional analysis into social movements has interrogated questions of sameness, difference and power in relation to feminist, anti-racist and queer organising; this article builds upon our knowledge of social movements and intersectionality by exploring the perceptions and experiences of disability activists in the UK. The research draws upon 24 semi-structured interviews undertaken with disability rights activists, finding that a traditional emphasis on unity means that those who are multiply marginalised still experience a silencing of issues and interests of importance to them; moreover, while there is a recognition of difference, this is principally understood in relation to impairment or social class. Simultaneously, the research finds evidence of an increasing tendency amongst disability activists in the UK to engage with intersectionality, both in how they understand disability but also in terms of how they organise.

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This research was funded by an ISRF Mid-Career Fellowship.


difference, disability, intersectionality, marginalisation, social movements

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13 June 2022Accepted
14 July 2022Published Online
September 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

14 Jun 2022 10:23

Last Modified:

30 Sep 2022 13:44

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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