chapter  7
16 Pages

Workspaces: Refiguring the Disability-Employment Debate


There is no doubt that disabled people are in a disadvantaged position in relation to employment in Britain. More disabled people are unemployed, in lower status occupations, on low earnings, or out of the labour market altogether, than nondisabled people (Martin et al. 1989; Berthoud et al. 1993; Labour Force Survey 1997). However, it is less clear why this situation has occurred, how it happens and what makes change so difficult. This chapter aims to provide a starting point for understanding this situation. There are three parts to this ‘refiguring’ of the disability-employment debate: first, a questioning of the two main interpretations of the disability-employment relation; second, introducing the social theorising of ‘the body’ into both the disability and the employment debates; and third, through a case study, using the theory of the ‘body’ to develop an embodied and spatialised understanding of the disability-employment debate.