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Disability under Communism in Eastern Europe. What we know and what we don’t know
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Learning Practices inside and outside School (LPS), Plats, Identitet, Lärande (PIL).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8756-732x
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

During the last decades, historical research on disability has been primarily conducted in Western Europe and North America. Consequently, disability history still focuses on Western attitudes towards disability. Perspectives on disabilities outside the West have recently broadened our understanding but remain scarce. Using the examples of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and the GDR, this paper seeks to provide an overview of disability policies under communism. It addresses the question whether the communist ideology provides a common denominator for studying disability in Eastern Europe. Communist states in Eastern Europe were never a homogenous entity. Additionally, certain trajectories in disability policies reflect global trends that go beyond socialism. Nevertheless, there was a specific theme that lay at the core of the communist world view, namely the glorification of physical labour and working class heroes. Labour played a crucial role for disability policies since communist regimes strove for moulding productive workers and “useful” citizens. At the same time these policies resulted in a discrepancy between official proclamations and social reality of disabled persons. This paper argues that the function and appearance of disabled persons’ bodies, challenged the very core of the communist work ethic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-46274OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-46274DiVA, id: diva2:1352943
Conference
Experiences of Dis/ability from the Late Middle Ages to the Mid-Twentieth Century 22 – 23 August 2019, Tampere University, Finland
Available from: 2019-09-20 Created: 2019-09-20 Last updated: 2019-09-20Bibliographically approved

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Dinu, Radu Harald

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