FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTUREANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
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Antropologicheskij forum, 2015, no. 26
A Review of MICHAEL RASELL, ELENA IARSKAIA-SMIRNOVA (еds.), DISABILITY IN EASTERN EUROPE AND THE FORMER SOVIET UNION: HISTORY, POLICY AND EVERYDAY LIFE. Abington; Oxon: Routledge Routledge, 2014, 274 pp.
European University at St Petersburg
Abstract: The paper reviews a recently published collection of articles in the field of disability studies “Disability in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union: History, Policy and Everyday Life” under the editorship of M. Rasell and E. lIaskaia-Smirnova. The book is in fact one of few extensive publications in social research on disability dedicated to the post-Soviet region, where people with disabilities still remain a marginal and neglected group.The authors and editors of the book stress that they view disability as a social and cultural construct. Throughout the book, the analysis of social policy towards people with disabilities is seen as a lens for understanding the broader socio-political, socio-economic, and cultural processes in the former socialist region. The articles are organised into three blocks: the first, possibly the strongest one, deals with historical aspects of disability, the second is dedicated to the modern everyday life of people with disabilities, and the third includes papers on global issues of social policy in comparative perspective. The topics touched upon in the articles, include the following: state socio-economic provision for people of disabilities, the role of non-governmental organisations that provide support for people with disabilities, the perspectives of educational inclusion for children with disabilities, iconography of disability in Soviet visual art, sexuality of people with physical disabilities, and others. With one exception, all the articles deal mostly with physical, rather than mental, disabilities. Some of them are practise-oriented, rather than purely academic. All in all, disability related issues are understood very broadly in the book and the academic level and quality of the papers comprising it varies a lot, but still, the efforts of the editors to unify the works are evident. This review provides a detailed critical rendering of each article in the book.
Keywords: disability, disability studies, history of disability, Soviet studies, post-Socialism, social policy, non-governmental organisations.
To cite: Klepikova A., 'A Review of Michael Rasell, Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova (еds.), Disability in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union: History, Policy and Everyday Life. Abington; Oxon: Routledge Routledge, 2014, 274 pp.', Antropologicheskij forum, 2015, no. 26, pp. 222–244.
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