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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Conceptualising Disability in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

The topic of disability in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union commonly evokes a range of depressing images from abandoned children in dilapidated orphanages to military veterans in uniform begging on street corners. More positive associations are far less frequent, whether disability activism, inclusive kindergartens or disability-themed film festivals. The ‘micro worlds’ of disabled people – their home lives, daily routines, family and friends – are similarly unknown to both scholars and large parts of society in the region. This collection of recent research explores how disabled people in postsocialist countries live in a context of weak safety nets, unstable polities and ambivalent civil society development that make it difficult to overcome historical legacies of control, segregation and stigma. Studying disabled people’s lives provides insights into the contested conceptions of citizenship, health, diversity and well-being that circulate in policy circles and society in an area of the world that has undergone significant transformation in the past twenty years.