Political Affinities and Complex Identities: Critical Approaches to Disability Organizing
This article addresses the criticism that critical disability studies (CDS) is morally relativistic and politically unhelpful. Written from the perspective of a current CDS practitioner, this response foregrounds political approaches to disability that are based on materialist and intersectional modes of analysis derived from CDS insights. Recent CDS scholarship is assessed through a historiographical review, and relevant political trajectories are contrasted with the call for “clear ethical guidelines” and approaches to advocacy based on a politics of identity, vulnerability, and reified difference. Throughout this discussion, binary framings of postmodern/modern, discursive/materialistic, theory/praxis, among other pairings, are challenged through a review of existing overlaps, and a consideration of constructive directions stemming from these syntheses.