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Micro-activist Affordances

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I met Ahmet, a disabled young man, during a visual ethnography I conducted in Istanbul, Turkey (2009), where I worked with people with disabilities related to rheumatoid arthritis – a chronic, painful disease, affecting the joints. During our interview, I ask Ahmet what type of toilets he prefers, knowing that in Turkey, toilets are typically squat and hardly ever accessible. …

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Disability in and through Rural Worlds

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The vast majority of disabled people in the Global South inhabit rural worlds and their experiences are shaped by material, relational, and social specificities of rurality, and yet disability at the intersection of rurality remains under-theorized in the Southern context. I use the term rurality to describe a phenomenon that encapsulates the cultural, social, and spatial dimensions of rural lives, …

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“Cross-Disability”

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We are interested in the ways that the concept of “cross-disability” has become an unquestioned value and goal in development and advocacy work: organizations, programs, and advocacy efforts are supposed to be “cross-disability” in nature. Disability activists and organizations in India often proclaim that they are “cross-disability.” As such, commonly-used concepts such as “accessibility” and “disability rights” do not necessarily …

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Competence for Citizenship

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White ants are a delicacy in the subregion Acholi in northern Uganda. Since fresh ones are available only once a year when they become flying roamers, one 100-kg sack of ants can bring in as much money as a teacher in a public school earns within two months. Patrick was thrilled to be able

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Enacting Dependence

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One summer evening while I was conducting fieldwork on sign language interpreting in Hanoi, Vietnam, the board members of the Hanoi Deaf Cultural Group (HDCG1), all of whom are Deaf2, and Chi, a hearing Ha Noi Sign Language (HNSL3) interpreter, gathered around a long wooden table at one of Hanoi’s many upscale coffee shops. …

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Care in the middle voice

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When thinking about care, it is easy to assume an asymmetrical structure with two fixed two roles: the care-giver and the cared-for. It is likewise easy to assume that the former is active while the latter is passive (cf. Borneman 1997). In attending to the lives and worlds of Ugandans with cognitive disabilities, however, I learned that there is more …