Academic

PhD Research (awarded November 2008)

Negotiating Disability in Everyday Life: The Experience of Psycho-Emotional Disablism

Abstract

It has been recognised that disability studies has been excellent at theorising structural disablism which affects what people with impairments can do. However, disabling factors which affect people with impairments at the psycho-emotional level, have been relegated to the domain of personal trouble. Building on the ideas presented in Female Forms by Carol Thomas, this thesis has two strands: an empirical description of the complexity of psycho-emotional disablism and its effects on identity, coupled with an application of the work of Giorgio Agamben (Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life) to theorise this experience of psycho-emotional disablism.

At the centre of this qualitative study were ten disabled people who took part in a two-part narrative interview method and talked about their 'experiences of disability'. The data was analysed in detail and revealed the complex interactions between structural disablism, psycho-emotional disablism, impairment effects as well as 'disability identity'.

I show how psycho-emotional disablism can be divided into two distinct forms: direct psycho-emotional disablism which can happen within interpersonal interactions between disabled people and others and indirect psycho-emotional disablism which can occur as a consequence of the experience of structural disablism. I also consider how the experience of psycho-emotional disablism affects the different ways that people with impairments identify or not as disabled, and how this has a temporal and spatial aspect as well as being impacted by impairment effects.

Agamben's work on homo sacer is used to explain the existential insecurity associated with the experience of psycho-emotional disablism. The concept of a 'zone of indistinction' is extended to introduce psychic and economic zones as well as the more common spatial zone of indistinction. I demonstrate how these zones can be found in examples of (in)direct psycho-emotional disablism and suggest that the impaired body is an example of bare life.

Supervised by Professor Carol Thomas (IHR) and Bob Sapey (ASS)

Examined by Professor Dan Goodley and Professor Sue Wise, awarded with no changes in November 2008

 

Research interests

Within my academic work I adopt an interdisciplinary approach to both writing and theorising drawing on many fields such as post-colonial theory, feminist theory, sociology of the emotions, sociology of the body as well as disability studies. My theoretical approach is post-structuralist and is heavily influenced by the later work of Foucault and that of his student, Agamben.

I am associated with the Centre for Disability Research (CeDR) at Lancaster University and can be contacted at donna.reeve@gmail.com.

 

Publications

Reeve, D. (forthcoming) 'Disgust, self-disgust and disability: A disability studies perspective', in P. Powell, P. Overton and J. Simpson (eds) The Revolting Self: Perspectives on the Psychological and Clinical Implications of Self-directed Disgust, London: Karnac Books.

Reeve, D. (forthcoming) 'Psycho-emotional disablism in the lives of people experiencing mental distress', in H. Spandler, J. Anderson and B. Sapey (eds) Distress and Disability: Debates and Alliances.

Reeve, D. (forthcoming) 'Part of the problem or part of the solution? How far do ‘reasonable adjustments’ guarantee ‘Inclusive Access for Disabled Customers’?', in K. Soldatic, H. Morgan and A. Roulstone (eds) Disability – Spaces and Places of Exclusion, Abingdon: Routledge.

Reeve, D. (2013) 'Psycho-emotional disablism', in C. Cameron (ed.) Disability Studies: A Student's Guide, London: Sage, pp. 121-124.

Reeve, D. (2014) 'Counselling and disabled people: Help or hindrance?', in J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes and C. Thomas (eds) Disabling Barriers - Enabling Environments, 3rd Edition, London: Sage, pp. 255-261.

Reeve, D. (2014) 'Psycho-emotional disablism and internalised oppression', in J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes and C. Thomas (eds) Disabling Barriers - Enabling Environments, 3rd Edition, London: Sage, pp. 92-98.

Simpson, J., McMillan, H. and Reeve, D. (2013) 'Reformulating psychological difficulties in people with Parkinson's disease: The potential of a social relational approach to disablism ', Parkinson’s Disease, doi: 10.1155/2013/608562.

Reeve, D. (2012) 'Cyborgs, cripples and iCrip: Reflections on the contribution of Haraway to disability studies', in D. Goodley, B. Hughes and L. J. Davis (eds) Disability and Social Theory: New Developments and Directions, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 91-111.

Reeve, D. (2012) 'Psycho-emotional disablism: The missing link?', in N. Watson, A. Roulstone and C. Thomas (eds) Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies, London: Routledge, pp. 78-92.

Reeve, D. (2012) 'Preparation for practice: Can philosophy have a place in helping students incorporate the social model of disability within their praxis?', Social Work Education 31(2): 226-233.

Reeve, D. (2012) 'Psycho-emotional disablism in the lives of people experiencing mental distress', in J. Anderson, B. Sapey and H. Spandler (eds) Distress or Disability? Proceedings of a symposium held at Lancaster Disability 15-16 November 2011, Lancaster: Centre for Disability Research, Lancaster University, pp. 24-29.

Reeve, D. (2008) 'Biopolitics and bare life: Does the impaired body provide contemporary examples of homo sacer?' in K. Kristiansen, S. Vehmas and T. Shakespeare (eds) Arguing about Disability: Philosophical Perspectives, London: Routledge, pp. 203-217.

Reeve, D. (2006) 'Towards a psychology of disability: the emotional effects of living in a disabling society', in D. Goodley and R. Lawthom (eds) Disability and Psychology: Critical Introductions and Reflections, London: Palgrave, pp. 94-107.

Reeve, D. (2004) 'Psycho-emotional dimensions of disability and the social model', in C. Barnes and G. Mercer (eds) Implementing the Social Model of Disability: Theory and Research, Leeds: The Disability Press, pp. 83-100. Available from the Leeds Disability Archive here.

Reeve, D. (2004) 'Counselling and disabled people: help or hindrance?' in J. Swain, et al. (eds) Disabling Barriers - Enabling Environments, 2nd Edition, London: Sage Publications, pp. 233-238.

Reeve, D. (2002) 'Negotiating psycho-emotional dimensions of disability and their influence on identity constructions', Disability & Society 17(5): 493-508.

Reeve, D. (2002) 'Oppression within the counselling room', Counselling and Psychotherapy Research 2(1): 11-19 (Reprint of 2000 article).

Reeve, D. (2000) 'Oppression within the counselling room', Disability & Society 15(4): 669-682.

 

Conference papers

Reeve, D. and Soldatic, K. (2012) 'The arrival of the ‘brown envelope’: The embodied experience of welfare reform in the UK', paper presented at 6th Biennial Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster University, 11-13 September.

Reeve, D. and Soldatic, K. (2012) '‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’: Welfare reform and the Work Capability Assessment', paper presented at Theorizing Normalcy and the Mundane, 3rd International Conference, Chester University, 26-27 June.

Reeve, D. (2012) 'The relevance of psycho-emotional disablism for physiotherapists and their patients', paper presented at North West Regional Network CSP: AGM and Study Day, Bolton Arena, 21 April.

Reeve, D. (2012) 'Part of the problem or part of the solution? A discussion of the reality of ‘Inclusive Access for Disabled Customers’', paper presented at Disability - Spaces and Places of Exclusion Symposium, Lancaster University, 16-17 April.

Reeve, D. (2011) 'Psycho-emotional disablism in the lives of people experiencing mental distress', paper presented at Disability or Distress symposium, Lancaster University, 15-16 November.

Reeve, D. (2011) 'Psycho-emotional disablism and the ‘dys-appearing’ body: Implications for the disability/impairment divide', paper presented at Theorizing Normalcy and the Mundane (2nd international conference), Manchester Metropolitan University, 14-15 July (keynote).

Reeve, D. (2011) 'From geek to theory chick: Developing understanding(s) of psycho-emotional disablism', paper presented at Postgraduate disability research: A critical space to engage, Warwick University, 13 July (keynote).

Reeve, D. (2010) 'Disablist hate crime and psycho-emotional disablism: Interconnections and insights', paper presented at 5th Biennial Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster University, 7-9 September.

Reeve, D. (2010) 'Beyond the social model: The experience of psycho-emotional disablism', paper presented at RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Royal Geographical Society, London, 1-3 September.

Reeve, D. (2010) 'Ableism and disability studies: The myth of the reliable and contained body', paper presented at Critical Disability Studies Conference: Theorizing Normalcy and the Mundane, Manchester Metropolitan University, 12-13 May.

Reeve, D. (2010) 'Psycho-emotional disablism: Implications for clinical psychology', paper presented at Clinical Psychology seminar, Lancaster University, 1 March.

Reeve, D. (2009) 'Psycho-emotional disablism and acts of (mis)recognition: Implications for professional practice', paper presented at 4th Cornwall Disability Research Network, Cornwall College, 29 October.

Reeve, D. (2009) 'Revisiting the ‘dys-appearing body’ through the lens of psycho-emotional disablism', paper presented at 9th Conference of the European Sociological Association, Lisbon, Portugal, 2-5 September.

Reeve, D. (2009) 'What can Agamben's Homo Sacer offer to an analysis of contemporary psycho-emotional disablism', paper presented at CeDR/ASS seminar, Lancaster University, 19 May.

Reeve, D. (2009) 'Enabling or disabling practice?: Psycho-emotional disablism and acts of (mis)recognition within professional relationships with disabled people', paper presented at 10th Nordic Network on Disability Research, Nyborg, Denmark, 2-4 April. Available from NNDR site here.

Reeve, D. (2009) '‘Sick or disabled?’: A discussion of the interaction between chronic illness and psycho-emotional disablism', paper presented at Disability and Chronic Illness Workshop, University of the West of England, 30 January.

Reeve, D. (2008) 'Psycho-emotional disablism: A neglected dimension of disability?' keynote paper presented at 3rd Cornwall Disability Research Network, Cornwall College, 27 November.

Reeve, D. (2008) 'Homo sacer, states of exception and zones of indistinction: What can the work of Agamben offer disability studies?' paper presented at 4th Biennial Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster University, 2-4 September.

Reeve, D. (2008) 'The red wedding dress and other stories: Intersections of psycho-emotional disablism, impairment effects and gender', paper presented at Subjectivity: International Conference, Cardiff University, 27-29 June.

Reeve, D. (2007) 'Homo sacer and zones of exception: Metaphors for the contemporary experience of disablism?' paper presented at Disability, Discourse and Community Psychology: The 1st Seminar, Research Institute of Health and Social Change (RIHSC), Manchester Metropolitan University, 6 July. (Slightly longer version of NNDR paper).

Reeve, D. (2007) 'Homo sacer and zones of exception: Metaphors for the contemporary experience of disablism?' paper presented at Nordic Network on Disability Research, Göteborg, Sweden, 10-12 May.

Reeve, D. (2006) '‘Am I a real disabled person or someone with a dodgy arm?’: a discussion of psycho-emotional disablism and its contribution to identity constructions', paper presented at Disability Studies: Research and Learning, Lancaster University, 18-20 September.

Reeve, D. (2004) 'Psycho-emotional dimensions of disability within relationships between professionals and disabled people', Disability Studies: Putting Theory Into Practice, Lancaster University, 26-28 July.

Reeve, D. (2003) 'The impact of psycho-emotional disablism on disabled children', 'I Feel: I Think', Warwick University, 13-14 November.

Reeve, D. (2003) ''Encounters with Strangers': Psycho-emotional dimensions of disability in everyday life', Disability Studies: Theory, Policy and Practice, Lancaster University, 4-6 September.

Reeve, D. (2002) 'Psycho-emotional dimensions of disability and the social model', The Social Model of Disability: Theoretical Considerations and Concerns (ESRC/CDS Seminar), Weetwood Hall Hotel, Leeds, 27 November.

Reeve, D. (2002) 'Emotional barriers within the counselling room: the experiences of disabled clients', Emotional Geographies, Lancaster University, 23-25 September.

Other outputs

Soldatic, K., Reeve, D., Morgan, H. and Grover, C. (2012) 'Britain's disabled are being abandoned by the state', OpenDemocracy (19 April). [Online article]. Available from http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/karen-soldatic-donna-reeve-hannah-morgan-chris-grover/britains-disabled-are-being-abandon

Reeve, D. (2001) 'The counselling experiences of clients with SCI', Forward, April, p20.

Unpublished work

Reeve, D. (2000) Negotiation of disability and impairment within counselling relationships: a critical evaluation from the perspective of clients with spinal cord injuries, MA Thesis, Leeds: University of Leeds.

 

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