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Critical psychologies of disability: boundaries, borders and bodies in the lives of disabled children

Goodley, D and Runswick Cole, K (2015) Critical psychologies of disability: boundaries, borders and bodies in the lives of disabled children. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 20. ISSN 1363-2752

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Abstract

© 2014, SEBDA. Attending to the ways in which bodies and subjectivities are constituted in social environments is not simply a concern of social geographers but an emerging interest in critical psychology, childhood and disability studies. Boundaries and borders are nothing if not the different relational and durational articulations of bodies and spaces. These entangled boundaries include borders between parent and child; culture and body; school, family and child. Through analysing the ways in which these borderlines are continually re-composed and re-constituted, we are able to reveal their relational and embodied articulations. In previous works, we have explored the ways in which disabled children disrupt normative orders associated with school, family and community. In this paper, we take up the concepts of boundaries and borders to explore their relational and embodied articulations with specific reference to stories collected as part of an ESRC project entitled ‘Does every child matter, Post-Blair: the interconnections of disabled childhoods’. We ask, how do disabled children negotiate space in their lives? In what ways do they challenge space through their borders and boundaries with others? How can we re-imagine, re-think and differently practice – that is revolutionise – key borders and boundaries of education in ways that affirm the lives of disabled children? We address these questions through reference to the narrative from the Derbyshire family, with particular focus on Hannah and her mother Linda, which we argue allow us to consider the ways in which disabled childhoods can be understood and reimagined. We explore two analytical considerations; ‘Being disabled: being mugged’ and ‘Becoming enabled: teacups, saucers and communities’.

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