Professor Andrew Jakubowicz
Professor of Sociology, University of Technology, Sydney\
Ms Helen Meekosha
Senior Lecturer, University of NSW
"Silence is...": Disability Studies Dis/engages
with Multicultural Studies
Too often diversity is seen to encompass culture - and gender
and sexuality - but leaves out consideration of different embodiments.
Yet disability studies with its direct challenge to theories
of alterity, subaltern status and ideologies of domination, opens
up ways of examining cultural diversity that cannot otherwise
be approached. This paper examines disability studies as a position
from which multicultural studies can be interrogated, and through
which critical questions about social hierarchies can be confronted.
Given that national population policies and world views underpin
both multicultural and disability practices, a shared analysis
The main focus of the paper will address the politics of recognition,
the nature of discourses of normalcy, the diffuse articulation
of citizenship and the strategies adopted by the state to control
the "quality" of its population. Particular attention
will be given to the relevance of social movements to the development
of a theoretical symbiosis, and the similar (though also quite
specific) challenges facing both the ethnic and disability movements
in Australia in the struggle for human rights.
Andrew Jakubowicz is professor of sociology at UTS, and author
of articles on multiculturalism. He is executive producer of
the CDROM project "Making Multicultural Australia: a multimedia
Helen Meekosha is convenor of the Social Relations of Disability
Research Network and a researcher in disability, feminism and
representation. The authors were the joint recipients of a large
ARC on Disability, Representation and Social Participation.
30 min paper