Unexceptional Violence in Exceptional Times: Disablist and Ableist Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic
It is well established that violence and oppression towards vulnerable and marginalised communities are intensified and compounded during times of social upheaval, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated disablist and ableist violence against disabled people. During the first year of the pandemic, we have been confronted with instances of violence meted out to disabled subjects. In this article, we provide a theorisation of such violence. Based on an assemblage of our collective readings of Butler, Campbell and Young, as well as our own observations and experiences, we suggest that added anxieties currently confronting people’s fragile corporeal embodiment are licensing abled subjects to violate disabled subjects to put them back in their place. Through an excavation of ‘Norms, Binaries, and Anxieties’, ‘Abjection, Substitutability, and Disavowal’, and ‘Ableism and (Un)grievability’, we trace the social contours of disablist and ableist violence, both within and beyond the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide a way of imagining otherwise to resist this violence.
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