Canadian Disability Activism and Political Ideas: In and Between Neo-Liberalism and Social Liberalism
Keywords:Disability, Neo- Liberalism, Social Liberalism, New Social Movements, Canada
The Canadian disability movement expresses a style of activism distinguished by values and beliefs which are a form of social liberalism. Disability activism, however, is taking place within a contemporary setting in which a set of ideas and interests often called neo-liberalism prevail in political discourse and policy making. This article considers the role of neo-liberalism and its interplay with social liberalism in relation to the full citizenship goals of the Canadian disability movement. Political activism, among other things, is a discursive production; an expression of ideas and information as well as a performance of power. Disability activism, in the Canadian context, is a form of social liberalism that emphasizes individual self-development and also community and the rights of numerous politically salient social groups. In many respects, social liberalism is a counter-discourse to the dominant discourse of neo-liberalism; in other ways, they are mutually reinforcing systems of ideas; and, at all times, they connect together in a larger historical and institutional context of particular societies.
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