Mobilising disabled students’ experiences through the encounter of Critical Disability Studies and Epistemologies of the South
Sociology and Criminology-Open Access

Sociology and Criminology-Open Access
Open Access

ISSN: 2375-4435


Short Communication - (2021) Volume 9, Issue 8

Mobilising disabled students’ experiences through the encounter of Critical Disability Studies and Epistemologies of the South

Ilaria Lega*
*Correspondence: Associate Professor. Ilaria Lega, Department of Sociology, University of Zurich, Zürich, University of Zurich, Switzerland, Email:

Author info »


In the 1970s, disabled humans and different marginalised social agencies battled an exclusionary Global North university. Disability Studies emerged from these struggles as epistemologies formed round a Westernised perception of incapacity and inequalities, primarily based on dialectic visions of development and subjective liberation. Today, the enhance of neoliberalism in universities, and its reference to colonial legacies, are embedded in numerous historic contingencies, and disabled college students face new varieties of discrimination. By merging analytical techniques from post-structural Critical Disability Studies and Epistemologies of the South, this article attracts upon interviews with disabled college students performed in an Italian college to discover how neoliberal and capitalistic practices cut out positive understanding and modalities of being college students. Through disabled students’ experiences, the article advances epistemologies that embody strategies of decolonisation and de-ableism of the college and argues for the Global North University to be an organization which will democratically reconcile polyhedral subjective probabilities of being.

Disabled humans as a discriminated social team have a prolonged record of struggles in opposition to an exclusionary college establishment. Back in the late 1960s, disabled students’ battles at Berkeley led to the enactment of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; in England, the Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) challenged the hegemony of clinical understanding in defining disabled our bodies and have end up the hotbed of students that headquartered Disability Studies; in Italy, battles for extra inclusive universities noticed college students rebelling in opposition to the machine – with the scholar at the time (later Professor) Enzo Rutigliano throwing his crutch out of a college window throughout a protest (personal conversation). As excluded groups, disabled people, and different discriminated businesses such as ladies and humans of colour, fought in opposition to a marginalising, unequal and hierarchical capitalist system, mobilised via narratives of progress, dialectical revolution and subjective liberation. While Disability Studies inside the Global North puzzled rationales that had been developing disabled humans as unproductive residents reliant on kingdom support, the North/ South divide emerged to seize a broader machine of inequalities and dependencies, with ‘Southern’ nations commonly described as ‘those traditionally conquered or managed by way of current imperial powers, leaving a persevering with legacy of poverty, financial exploitation and dependence.’

More than fifty years have exceeded when you consider that these struggles. Today a neoliberal reason, with its world market-driven agendas and accelerated per formative pace, is exposing ancient exclusions and growing new inequalities. Universities inside the Global North are central in mobilising such processes. Despite on-going discourses round decolonisation and de-ableisation, on the one hand, Eurocentric, Westernised scientific canons are nevertheless viewed the solely genuine understanding produced dismissing indigenous expertise. On the different hand, disabled human beings are to adapt to a pervasive ableist norm that continues to forge them as anti-capitalist our bodies and the ‘other’ of college performativity.

A growing wide variety of college students inside the subject of Critical Disability Studies (CDS) are beginning to tackle these issues. In the identical way Disability Studies emerged from preceding battles, nowadays CDS’s struggles are linked to the workings of ableism, as ‘a socially built complicated machine of disempowerment which intersects with, and is simply as pervasive as, different structures of oppression’. CDS advocates for a ‘different articulation of temporalities’, which defies the linear narrative of growth and ‘ableist expectations of “normal” [academic] orientations and timespans’. By doing so, CDS additionally denounces the Eurocentric persona of Disability Studies, and includes scholarship that has struggles of disabled humans in the Global South. Meanwhile, decolonisation research ‘seek[s] to return to phrases with the approaches at some stage in which hegemonic forces of colonisation insidiously pervade the Global South expertise systems’ and to ‘decolonize the common sense of coloniality that translated variations into values’. These techniques are intrinsically linked with epistemological and ontological struggles at college and beyond. Operationalizes these struggles in the Epistemologies of the South, searching at ‘the manufacturing and validation of understanding anchored in the experiences of resistance of all these agencies that have systematically suffered injustices, oppression, and destruction induced via capitalism, colonialism and patriarchy’.

Theoretical procedures that choice for interest to the intersection of race and disability, the merging of CDS and Postcolonial Studies, and that seem at the connections between the two, have been exploring these connections and calling for action. In this article, I reply to this name through following ‘some effective mental work based totally on cross-fertilization’ and ‘trans-culturalisation’ of knowledge, in a try to do what calls ‘a choice questioning of alternatives’. Aware of warning about the risks of abusing the ‘rhetorical connections that exist between incapacity and postcolonialism’, I do no longer intend to evaluate experiences, pain, historic atrocities and injustices as ‘symbols of the oppressions’ that happen in totally exclusive contexts. Rather, I renowned each the calls for ‘decolonising’ Disability Studies and the want to ‘incorporate the function of the international North in “disabling” the world south’ and add a new strand of collaboration between CDS and Decolonial Studies scholars. Drawing upon disabled students’ techniques and beliefs in a Global North college in Italy, I improve the opportunity of enabling choice epistemologies knowledgeable with the aid of ‘indigenous knowledge, which in many cases, is left out or misrepresented’, and that seize the range of these subjective experiences made non-existent with the aid of a capitalist and neoliberal conformation of the university. Understanding of the Epistemologies of the South as political and epistemic, alternatively than geographical, the article targets to advocate doable methods to reinvent the Global North University as an area that promotes ecologies of expertise and ontological variety via merging disability know-how and tactics of decolonisation.

Author Info

Ilaria Lega*
Department of Sociology, University of Zurich, Zürich, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Citation: Lega I (2021) Mobilising disabled students’ experiences through the encounter of Critical Disability Studies and Epistemologies of the South. Social and Crimonol 9: 221.

Received Date: Aug 10, 2021 / Accepted Date: Aug 23, 2021 / Published Date: Aug 30, 2021

Copyright: © 2021 Lega I. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.