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Physical impairment in British coalmining, 1780–1880

This book sheds new light on the human cost of industrialisation by examining the lives and experiences of those disabled in an industry that was vital to Britain's economic growth. If disability has been largely absent from conventional histories of industrialisation, the Industrial Revolution has assumed great significance in disability studies. The book examines the economic and welfare responses to disease, injury and impairment among coal workers. It discusses experiences of disability within the context of social relations and the industrial politics of coalfield communities. The book provides the context for those that follow by providing an overview of the conditions of work in British coalmining between 1780 and 1880. It turns its attention to the principal causes of disablement in the nineteenth-century coal industry and the medical responses to them. The book then extends the discussion of responses to disability by examining the welfare provisions for miners with long-term restrictive health conditions. It also examines how miners and their families negotiated a 'mixed economy' of welfare, comprising family and community support, the Poor Law, and voluntary self-help as well as employer paternalism. The book shifts attention away from medicine and welfare towards the ways in which disability affected social relations within coalfield communities. Finally, it explores the place of disability in industrial politics and how fluctuating industrial relations affected the experiences of disabled people in the coalfields.

Open Access (free)
Coreen Anne McGuire

critiqued by scholars of disability, who argue that disability is by no means necessarily ‘a bad thing’, an issue that I explore in the section on ‘Defining disability’. 6 After considering the ways in which Elizabeth Barnes’s recent metaphysics of disability has problematised the concept of normalcy, I go on to argue that defining disability using a naturalistic framework is problematised not only by scholarship from disability studies but also by researches from the field of hedonic psychology. In the section on ‘Well-being and disability’, I argue that the existence

in Measuring difference, numbering normal
Open Access (free)
A love story of queer intimacies between (her) body and object (her cigarette)
Dresda E. Méndez de la Brena

absent or insufficient. Ultimately, I call for critical thinking on smoking from the perspective of feminist intersectionality and disability studies. A (queer) love story I met her on Tinder. I was in Vienna for an academic conference and since my academic companions were younger than me, their party night interests were quite different from my own. I wanted to meet someone to

in Affective intimacies
Open Access (free)
New perspectives on socially engaged performance

The book advances our understanding of performance as a mode of caring and explores the relationship between socially engaged performance and care. It creates a dialogue between theatre and performance, care ethics and other disciplinary areas such as youth and disability studies, nursing, criminal justice and social care. Challenging existing debates in this area by rethinking the caring encounter as a performed, embodied experience and interrogating the boundaries between care practice and performance, the book engages with a wide range of different care performances drawn from interdisciplinary and international settings. Drawing on interdisciplinary debates, the edited collection examines how the field of performance and the aesthetic and ethico-political structures that determine its relationship with the social might be challenged by an examination of inter-human care. It interrogates how performance might be understood as caring or uncaring, careless or careful, and correlatively how care can be conceptualised as artful, aesthetic, authentic or even ‘fake’ and ‘staged’. Through a focus on care and performance, the contributors in the book consider how performance operates as a mode of caring for others and how dialogical debates between the theory and practice of care and performance making might foster a greater understanding of how the caring encounter is embodied and experienced.

A cultural and literary history of impairment in the coal industry, 1880–1948

Coalmining was a notoriously dangerous industry and many of its workers experienced injury and disease. However, the experiences of the many disabled people within Britain’s most dangerous industry have gone largely unrecognised by historians. This book examines the British coal industry through the lens of disability, using an interdisciplinary approach to examine the lives of disabled miners and their families.

The book considers the coal industry at a time when it was one of Britain’s most important industries, and follows it through a period of growth up to the First World War, through strikes, depression and wartime, and into an era of decline. During this time, the statutory provision for disabled people changed considerably, most notably with the first programme of state compensation for workplace injury. And yet disabled people remained a constant presence in the industry as many disabled miners continued their jobs or took up ‘light work’. The burgeoning coalfields literature used images of disability on a frequent basis and disabled characters were used to represent the human toll of the industry.

A diverse range of sources are used to examine the economic, social, political and cultural impact of disability in the coal industry, looking beyond formal coal company and union records to include autobiographies, novels and oral testimony. It argues that, far from being excluded entirely from British industry, disability and disabled people were central to its development. The book will appeal to students and academics interested in disability history, disability studies, social and cultural history, and representations of disability in literature.

Open Access (free)
Kirsti Bohata, Alexandra Jones, Mike Mantin, and Steven Thompson

espoused by socialist principles. Rather than being primarily a marker of the abnormal against which ‘normalcy’ could be defined, disability is the presented as both symptom of the deprivations and demands of industry and a feature of the daily lived experiences of a mutually supportive community. Apart from the centrality of disability to daily life and the politics of coalmining communities, it is also evident that the coal industry was crucial in the employment of disabled people. This fact goes right to the heart of one of the major shibboleths of disability studies

in Disability in industrial Britain
Open Access (free)
Kirsti Bohata, Alexandra Jones, Mike Mantin, and Steven Thompson

continues to be important.14 Studies of the literary and cultural histories of coal follow a similar pattern, with an emphasis on class15 broadening to include studies influenced by scholars working on gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, dialect and nation, affect and humour.16 Despite the growth in disability studies, disability has been conspicuously absent from studies of industrial history and literature. Aside from David M. Turner and Daniel Blackie’s book, Disability in the Industrial Revolution,17 which emerged from the same research project as the present

in Disability in industrial Britain
Open Access (free)
Disability in working-class coalfields literature
Kirsti Bohata, Alexandra Jones, Mike Mantin, and Steven Thompson

than the uniform ranks of Hugh’s quasi-fascistic vision, one in which people with impairments are figuratively and practically a part. Crucially, it is also one that challenges or blurs the lines between conventional binaries of disabled/ able-bodied (or ‘normal’), carer and recipient of care, thus evoking the idea of interdependence – a contemporary disability studies term, but one anticipated by Thomas’s vision of community solidarity. Interdependency and collective strength The question of dependency is an important one in understanding disability as a socially

in Disability in industrial Britain
Open Access (free)
Coreen Anne McGuire

abnormal? Strict dichotomies have also characterised the literature concerning disability and measurement. Disability studies developed as a discipline relatively recently, concurrent with social changes concerning the perception of disability and the work of activists campaigning for greater rights for the disabled, starting around the mid-1980s. 85 It is important to emphasise this grounding in political activism because this has influenced the kinds of histories that have been told about disability, and has oriented the focus of these histories. For example

in Measuring difference, numbering normal
Kirsti Bohata, Alexandra Jones, Mike Mantin, and Steven Thompson

space most likely to be inhabited – and affected – by disabled women in the coalfields. Work in disability studies since the 1990s has illustrated how the construction of disability is itself informed by class, gender, race, ethnicity, religion and age, in addition to marital status and family composition. An early feminist disability study, Pride Against Prejudice (1991) by Jenny Morris, was a groundbreaking challenge to the generalisations of social model theory for their failure to adequately include disabled women. She argued that ‘a feminist perspective can help

in Disability in industrial Britain