Special Issue Guest Editors' Introduction: Disability Legal Studies

By Heyer, Katharina; Mor, Sagit | Law & Society Review, January 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

Special Issue Guest Editors' Introduction: Disability Legal Studies


Heyer, Katharina, Mor, Sagit, Law & Society Review


This special issue on disability legal studies calls attention to disability as a productive theoretical prism that can shed light on central questions animating sociolegal research. Disability legal studies is motivated by the conviction that "disability is everywhere" in sociolegal studies, and that important research emerges when sociolegal studies is placed in conversation with disability studies. Already well established in the arts and humanities, disability studies analyzes disability as a social and cultural phenomenon, an identity, social construct and metaphor. It has opened disability as a new site of analysis for legal scholarship as well, examining the ways by which economic relations, cultural meanings, social practices, and institutional settings contribute to the social construction of disability. It deepens the analysis of legal concepts, such as normalcy, competence, rationality, autonomy, productivity, and citizenship.

The articles featured in this special issue emerged from a growing network of sociolegal scholars that place disability at the center of their analysis. Since 2013 we have met as a collaborative research network as part of the Law and Society Association and generated interdisciplinary and cross-national scholarship on the role of law in the social construction of disability. A central focus of this research has been the globalization of disability rights discourse through the transplantation of disability rights schemes, the implementation of the UN disability rights convention, and the local translation of international efforts to address disability discrimination. This global perspective underscores the diversity of disability legal consciousness and legal mobilization and the variety of disability laws and policies which reflect differences in legal cultures and in political heritage. …

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