I have a new ‘Current Issues’ paper on cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowances, published this week (4th July 2014) by the Journal of Disability and Society.
Reference: Lewthwaite, Sarah (2014) ‘Current issues: Government cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowances must be resisted‘ Disability and Society. 4th July 2014.
The paper highlights issues around proposed cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowances and places them within a conceptual frame, focussing particularly on the relationship between Disabled Students’ Allowances, disclosure and how disability is defined in UK higher education. The article identifies how disabled peoples’ access to higher education will be endangered by cuts. In addition, research suggests that if DSAs are cut, the impetus to disclose disability will be reduced; as a result many disabled students within higher education could become invisible within academic statistics, damaging the validity of equality statistics. The article then draws on evidence to discuss the knock-on implications for the allocation of resources and satisfaction metrics. Finally, the article focusses on the ways in which DSAs shape how disability is defined (that is: who is consider disabled and who is considered non-disabled) in English higher education, and how government cuts will result in a redefinition that compromises both social and medical models of disability. Conceptually, cuts are observed to express Government’s regulation of disabled students as an enaction of biopower. I conclude that there is a risk with the proposed cuts, some disabled students will themselves be cut; excluded from higher education or rendered invisible within it.
The journal of Disability and Society is not an open-access journal. However, as the author, I have a limited number of copies (50) of the article that I can allocate freely. If you are working in this area, or involved in advocacy or consultation on cuts to DSAs, and cannot access the journal, please get in touch for your copy and I will be please to supply a copy. I will give preference to advocates and non-academic readers, so please let me know if you fall into either (or both) of these categories.
Finally; I’d like to highlight the value of ‘Current Issues’ and similar sections in academic journals for academics and researchers working in ‘live’ subject areas, particularly via open access journals. For my purposes, I pitched the paper to Disability and Society as the journal is a central to Disability Studies in the UK (and elsewhere). Disability and Society have a fast-track review process that means a ‘current issues’ article can be submitted, reviewed, amended and put through final copy process within 6-8 weeks for online publication. Full guidance on writing for this section is available on the journal website. My paper is short by journal standards (around 2,000 words) but much longer than many news or blog articles. As an academic publication, more conceptual and theoretical angles can be brought to bear upon the subject than other venues might allow. Many other journals have similar ‘current issues’ sections, and if you are wanting to disseminate your work or analysis these definitely bear consideration.
As ever, any comments are very welcome.