Surplusisity: Neoliberalism and Disability and Precarity

  • Karen SoldaticEmail author


Neoliberalism has become a term of multiple meanings, multiple effects alongside multiple understandings. Often, it is said that neoliberalism is an economic project that aims to reorder the social relations between the rich and the poor, normalising the structure of severe inequality, deprivation and poverty. This chapter examines neoliberalism from the realm of disability and the implications for persons with disabilities in realising citizenship rights within the political arena. The chapter traverses the democratic sphere of the nation state and the ways in which neoliberalism restructures the liberal social compact that underpinned historical notions of state-citizen relations. Moreover, it examines the implications of increased precarity for disabled people and the increasing retraction of state redistributive measures within the private sphere that have been shown to be critical for the emergence of disabled people’s citizenship rights and their political participation. The chapter draws to a close through arguing that the neoliberalisation of the nation state has resulted in the re-positionality of a particular class of disabled people as being surplus to the reordering of the national economic sphere, denying many disabled people the right to freedom, collective organisation and human flourishing.



The research reported on in this chapter has been funded by an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship (DE160100478). Thank you to Kelly Somers for copy-editing the chapter.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Culture and SocietyWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

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