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Societies 2012, 2(3), 139-156; doi:10.3390/soc2030139

The Place of Disgust: Disability, Class and Gender in Spaces of Workfare

1
School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia
2
School of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 November 2011 / Revised: 21 August 2012 / Accepted: 23 August 2012 / Published: 12 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Action, Embodied Theory: Understanding the Body in Society)
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Abstract

This paper explores the role of disgust in mediating disabled women's experience of workfare in the Australian state. As global social policy has been restructured along neoliberal lines in Western nations, the notion of ‘workfare’ has been widely promulgated. This paper draws on nine case studies from across Australia to explore how this has resulted in disabled women being coerced to participate in a range of workfare programs that are highly bureaucratised, sanitised and moralised. The findings suggest that with the advent of Australian neoliberal welfare reform, some disabled women are increasingly framed in negative affective terms. A primary emotion that appears to govern disabled women forced to participate in Australian neoliberal workfare programs is disgust. The experience of the participants interviewed for this study suggests that the naming of them in negative emotional terms requires disabled women to perform a respectable unruly corporeality to ensure that they gain and maintain access to a range of services and supports, which are vital to their wellbeing.
Keywords: disability; gender; class; disgust; respectability; welfare reform disability; gender; class; disgust; respectability; welfare reform
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Soldatic, K.; Meekosha, H. The Place of Disgust: Disability, Class and Gender in Spaces of Workfare. Societies 2012, 2, 139-156.

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