The onslaught of neoliberalism, austerity measures and cuts, impact of climate change, protracted conflicts and ongoing refugee crisis, rise of far right and populist movements have all negatively impacted on disability. Yet, disabled people and their allies are fighting back and we urgently need to understand how, where and what they are doing, what they feel their challenges are and what their future needs will be.

This comprehensive handbook emphasizes the importance of everyday disability activism and how activists across the world bring together a wide range of activism tactics and strategies. It also challenges the activist movements, transnational and emancipatory politics, as well as providing future directions for disability activism.

With contributions from senior and emerging disability activists, academics, students and practitioners from around the globe, this handbook covers the following broad themes:

• Contextualising disability activism in global activism

• Neoliberalism and austerity in the global North

• Rights, embodied resistance and disability activism

• Belonging, identity and values: how to create diverse coalitions for rights

• Reclaiming social positions, places and spaces

• Social media, support and activism

• Campus activism in higher education

• Inclusive pedagogies, evidence and activist practices

• Enabling human rights and policy

• Challenges facing disability activism

The Routledge Handbook of Disability Activism provides disability activists, students, academics, practitioners, development partners and policy makers with an authoritative framework for disability activism.

part Part I|38 pages

Introduction – contextualising disability activism

chapter |18 pages

Introducing Disability Activism

ByMaria Berghs, Tsitsi Chataika, Kudakwashe Dube, Yahya El-Lahib

chapter |17 pages

A Virtual Roundtable

Re/defining disability activism with emerging global South disability activists
Edited ByTsitsi Chataika, Samantha Sibanda, Abraham Mateta, Krishna Bahadur Sunar

part Part II|56 pages

Neoliberalism and austerity in the global North

chapter 2|14 pages

‘These Days are Ours’

Young disabled people’s experiences of activism and participation in social movements
ByMiro Griffiths

chapter 4|6 pages


An artist-activist response to austerity
ByLiz Crow

chapter 5|7 pages

As Technology Giveth, Technology Taketh Away

ByJohn Rae

part Part III|60 pages

Rights, embodied resistance and disability activism

chapter 6|13 pages

Exercising Intimate Citizenship Rights and (Re)constructing Sexualities

The new place of sexuality in disability activism
ByAlan Santinele Martino, Margaret Campbell

chapter 7|18 pages

‘I Show the Life, I Hereby Express my Life’

Activism and art in the political debate between social movements and institutions on D/deaf bodies in Italy
ByFabrizio Loce-Mandes

chapter 8|16 pages

Resisting the Work Cure

Mental health, welfare reform and the movement against psychocompulsion
ByDenise McKenna, Paula Peters, Rich Moth

chapter 9|10 pages

My Disability, my Ammunition, my Asset in Advocacy Work

ByTafadzwa Rugoho

part Part IV|40 pages

Belonging, identity and values

chapter 10|14 pages

Disabled Mothers of Disabled Children

An activism of our children and ourselves
ByLiz Crow, Wendy Merchant

chapter 11|11 pages

Dementia as a Disability

ByKate Swaffer, Brian LeBlanc, Peter Mittler

chapter 12|8 pages

Voices From Survivors of Forced Sterilisations in Japan

Eugenics Protection Law 1948–1996
ByNagase Osamu

chapter 13|5 pages

Indigenous Species

ByKhairani Barokka

part Part V|50 pages

Reclaiming social positions, places and spaces

chapter 14|12 pages

Disability Sport and Social Activism

ByDamian Haslett, Brett Smith

chapter 15|10 pages

Naples in the Hands

Activism for aesthetic enjoyment
ByCiro Pizzo, Carmela Pacelli, Maria Grazia Gargiulo

chapter 16|13 pages

Pissed Off!

Disability activists fighting for toilet access in the UK
ByCharlotte Jones, Jen Slater, Sam Cleasby, Gill Kemp, Eleanor Lisney, Sarah Rennie

chapter 17|13 pages


Non-confrontational activism in Trinidad and Tobago
BySylette Henry-Buckmire

part Part VI|52 pages

Social media, support and activism

chapter 18|12 pages

The Tragedy of the Hidden Lamps

In search of disability rights activists from the global South in the digital era
ByNqobani Dube

chapter 19|15 pages

‘With the Knife and the Cheese in Hand!’

A virtual ethnography of the cyber-activist disabled movement in Brazil and its transnational impact
ByMarco Antonio Gavério, Anahi Guedes de Mello, Pamela Block

chapter 20|15 pages

Australia’s Treatment of Indigenous Prisoners

The continuing nature of human rights violations in West Australian jail cells
ByHannah McGlade

chapter 21|8 pages

‘Lchad Poland’ and the Fight Against Inequality

The role of internet advocacy in cases of a rare genetic condition
ByAnna Chowaniec-Rylke

part Part VII|42 pages

Campus activism in higher education

chapter 22|16 pages

Beyond Random Acts of Diversity

Ableism, academia and institutional sites of resistance
ByStephanie J. Cork, Beth Douthirt-Cohen, Kelly M. Hoffman, Paul T. Jaeger, Amanda Strausser

chapter 23|8 pages

At the Margins of Academia – on the Outside, Looking in

Refusing, challenging and dismantling the material and ideological bases of academia
ByArmineh Soorenian

chapter 24|7 pages


Broadening the agenda to ‘include’ persons with disabilities
ByPragya Deora

chapter 25|9 pages


How installation art can reclaim space, transform collective suffering into poetic resistance and bring aesthetics to disabled viewers
ByErin Davenport

part Part VIII|44 pages

Inclusive pedagogies, evidence and activist practices

chapter 26|13 pages

Zimbabwean Disability Activism From a Higher Education Perch

An uncertain present but exciting future
ByMartin Musengi

chapter 27|15 pages

Research as Activism?

Perspectives of people labelled/with intellectual and developmental disabilities engaged in inclusive research and knowledge co-production
ByAnn Fudge Schormans, Heather Allan, Donavon O’Neil Allen, Christine Austin, Kareem Elbard, Kevin John Head, Tyler Henderson, Karrissa Horan-LaRoche, Rainbow Hunt, Nathan Gray, Rex Marchi, Donna McCormick, Romeo Dontae Tresean Biggz Pierre, Sean Rowley

chapter 28|13 pages

Reinventing Activism

Evidence-based participatory monitoring as a tool for social change
ByMarcia Rioux, Paula Campos Pinto, Dagnachew Wakene, Rados Keravica, Jose Viera

part Part IX|52 pages

Enabling human rights and policy

chapter 29|13 pages

Implementation of CRPD in the Post-Soviet Region

Between imitation and authenticity
ByEgle Sumskiene, Violeta Gevorgieniene, Rasa Geniene

chapter 30|14 pages

Swedish Disability Activism

From welfare to human rights?
ByMarie Sépulchre, Lars Lindberg

chapter 31|16 pages

Gendered Disability Advocacy

Lessons from the Girl Power Programme in Sierra Leone
ByEmma Frobisher, Willem Elbers, Auma Okwany

chapter 32|7 pages

‘We Need not Remake the Past’

Rebuilding the disability movement in Toronto, Canada
ByMelissa Graham

part Part X|36 pages

Conclusion – the coming challenges and future directions

chapter 33|15 pages

Causes and Effects of Claims for Rights

Why mainstreaming in Africa matters
ByKudakwashe Dube

chapter 34|13 pages

Unsettling Realities and Rethinking Displacement

Transforming settlement services for refugees, migrants and people with intellectual disabilities
ByNatalie Spagnuolo, Yahya El-Lahib

chapter 35|5 pages

Disability Futures

Activism futures and challenges
ByMaria Berghs, Tsitsi Chataika, Yahya El-Lahib, Kudakwashe Dube