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Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

invest in communal reciprocity? Relentless hard choices ‘in effect tax an individual’s bandwidth, or mental resources. This cognitive tax, in turn, can lead to economic decisions that perpetuate poverty ( ibid .: 81, emphasis added). As off-grid environments, slums typically lack regular water, electricity, sanitation and other infrastructural services. This absence also increases the cognitive levy. A high mental tax creates poor frames of thought and makes for impaired decision making. For the World Bank, thinking has become a calculative

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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.

antithesis of ideals of sober manliness.26 But at the same time, these stories show ways in which men whose livelihoods and status were threatened by impairment might fall back on the image of the tough, hard-drinking miner as a means of rejecting any associations between physical impairment and vulnerability or weakness. These were ‘disabled’ men determined to demonstrate their physical strength, whatever their impairment. They appear as not just getting into trouble, but positively inviting it, seeking opportunities to test their strength against able-bodied opponents

in Disability in the Industrial Revolution
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physical impairment is above all else a ‘problem’ that needs solving. Coalmining not only powered the Industrial Revolution, then, it also shaped emerging understandings and experiences of disability in nineteenth-century Britain that linger on, affecting the lives of disabled people in the present. Consequently, a disability history of British coalmining like this is long overdue. Approach and methodology While disability remains a neglected topic in histories of industrialisation, greater attention has been given to occupational diseases, working-class health and the

in Disability in the Industrial Revolution
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other hand, if British coalminers were admired for their physical prowess, the acquired diseases and injuries associated with their toils meant that many experienced some degree of impairment. Our evidence shows that rather than leaving the world of work, these ‘disabled’ miners were expected to return to productive employment if capable of doing so. Such workers were valued for their skills and experience, even more so when labour was scarce, such as during strikes. For much of our period, elements of the ‘somatic flexibility’ believed to have enabled disabled people

in Disability in the Industrial Revolution

working in the coal industry, both above ground and below.102 Some resumed their pre-injury occupations while others took up new, less arduous positions. The status of miners with disabilities varied considerably and might depend on a person’s standing prior to their injury and the work culture of particular collieries. Those like Rymer whose impairments were acquired prior to working in the mines sometimes faced the scorn or suspicion of co-workers. Rymer frequently complained of his physical defects being used against him, such as in a dispute with an overman over a

in Disability in the Industrial Revolution

Research Unit in 1964. 164 Using this register, Wing and Gould identified all children who were known to the local health, education or social services ‘for reasons of physical or mental handicap or behaviour disturbance’; 914 children were selected, including those known to be ‘severely mentally retarded’. The rest were screened via interviews to identify ‘absence or impairment

in The metamorphosis of autism

violence.51 The industrial politics of disablement 173 Mineworkers with pre-existing physical impairments were not automatically insulated from workplace violence. In February 1832, collier David Edwards went to work in a coal pit attached to an ironworks at Blaina, south Wales. Many workers there were engaged in a dispute with their employer and were effectively on strike. Regarded as a blackleg, Edwards soon came to the attention of the notorious ‘Scotch Cattle’ – groups of Welsh miners who terrorised fellow workers that refused to take part in collective action

in Disability in the Industrial Revolution
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1950s. The new autism psychologists wanted to define ‘social impairment’ and demand educational rights, and they did not want to be dictated to by medical agencies, or social service agencies who were constructing their own understandings of social deprivation and policy intervention. Since the 1960s, policy towards childhood autism in Britain has been almost wholly managed via the education system, with

in The metamorphosis of autism

much critical debate. 21 Rutter’s work was also fundamental in shaping a lot of the child psychiatric definitions. The classification of ‘infantile autism’ employed in DSM-III was derived directly from a definition drawn up by Rutter in 1978, namely: an onset before the age of 30 months, impaired social development that has a number of special characteristics and is out

in The metamorphosis of autism