Neoliberalism, postsocialism, disability

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This paper discusses the impact of neoliberalism on disability policy and activism. The paper highlights the neoliberalisation of postsocialist disability policy, as well as the convergence between the neoliberal critique of welfare-state paternalism and the advocacy of disabled people’s movement for deinstitutionalisation and direct payments (personal assistance). The discussion is supported by examples from Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. In conclusion, the paper argues that neoliberalism confronts the disabled people’s movement with two difficult tasks: to defend self-determination while criticising market-based individualism, and to defend the welfare state while criticising expert-based paternalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445–459
JournalDisability & Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • neoliberalism
  • disability
  • postsocialism
  • disabled people’s movement
  • Direct payments
  • personal assistance


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