From State Socialist to Neoliberal Productivism: Disability Policy and Invalidation of Disabled People in the Postsocialist Region

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Abstract

This paper criticizes the negative impact of productivism on disabled people of working age in the postsocialist region of Central and Eastern Europe. Productivism is conceptualized as a mechanism that generates cultural and material invalidation of those considered to be unable to work. The analysis begins by outlining some political-economic features of state socialism that underpinned its productivism, emphasizing commodification of labor. It proceeds by discussing the ensuing approach to social policy, comparing it with two alternative models. Afterwards, it highlights several ways in which productivism shaped disability policy in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Finally, the analysis looks at present-day disability policy in the postsocialist region. It is argued that after 1989, the state-based productivism of the socialist regime was partially complemented and partially displaced by the market-based productivism of the new neoliberal regime. The conclusion discusses strategies for resisting productivism, focusing specifically on decommodification of labor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109– 1123
JournalCritical Sociology
Volume43
Issue number7-8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • commodification of labor
  • disability policy
  • neoliberalism
  • postsocialism
  • productivism
  • social policy
  • state socialism
  • work ethic

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