Brain Injury Survivors: Impairment, Identity and Neoliberalism
This paper reflects on my decades of activism and scholarly work with brain injury survivors, highlighting some of the challenges that survivors experience, and exploring the power dynamics associated with the ‘survivor’ identity. It explores the ‘survivor’ discourse/identity which has been widely adopted by people who have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the context of embodied cognitive changes, the dominant view of disability as a personal tragedy, and the wider political context of neoliberalism. The key argument is that the survivor identity adopted by many people with brain injuries simultaneously supports and challenges neoliberalism. The paper involves both autobiographical reflections and the results of my political involvement and research with other survivors.