Disability and (Virtual) Institutions?
The ‘Disability and (Virtual) Institutions?’ workshop organised by Linda Steele (UTS Law | Health | Justice Research Centre), Claire Spivakovsky (Monash) and Penny Weller (RMIT) provided scholars from Spain, Australia, Canada, UK and Indonesia with the opportunity to explore relationships between law, disability and institutions. Scholars came to the workshop from a variety of disciplines including law, criminology, social work, social policy, sociology, nursing and anthropology, and brought with them diverse professional and life experiences.
The workshop enabled interdisciplinary and transjurisdictional discussions which illuminated a number of significant themes: the uncertainty and even ambivalence surrounding the meaning and political relevance of the institution in contemporary disability rights era, the limits of law reform in a context of austerity, neoliberal individual responsibilisation and structural social deprivation, the largely unexplored role in sociolegal scholarship of the interface of family and institutions, and the difficulties of engaging law to achieve substantive equality.
The workshop also provided an opportunity to build an interdisciplinary sociolegal disability research community and the participants will be continuing to support each other’s research, with plans to reconvene in coming years.
Workshop participants enjoyed the peacefulness and beauty of the Onati village and surrounding countryside, and the wonderful accommodation and food. The workshop organisers sincerely thank Malen Gordoa Mendizabal and her IISL colleagues for all of their work organizing the workshop.