Writing the Play: Creating Disability and DPOs

  • Diana Szántó


Chapter  3 looks at the polio-houses from another angle. The polio-houses are not only squats, on the margin between the illegal and informal, they are at the same time respectable civil society organisations, that is, organisations of disabled people (DPOs). As such, they participate with full rights in project society. The association between DPOs and the NGO world seems obvious, but the fact is that voluntary associations have multiple roots in Sierra Leonean history and some of these go well beyond the era of project society. The new organisations could draw on the tradition of early friendly societies and even on the model of secret societies. This chapter gives a detailed account of the emergence and evolution of the polio-DPOs the houses of which we visited in Chap.  2. It will highlight the influence of older day charities, as well as the importance of the ties connecting the DPOs to their rural origins and to a complex international web.


  1. Banton, M. (1957 [1969]). West African city. A study of Tribal life in freetown. London; Ibadan; Accra: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Barnes, C., Oliver, M., & Barton, L. (2002). Disability studies today. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press in Association with Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Berghs, M. (2016). Local and global Phantoms: Reparations, national memory and sacrifice in Sierra Leone. In P. Devlieger, F. Rusch, S. Brown, & M. Strickfaden (Eds.), Rethinking disability: World perspectives in culture and society (pp. 275–292). Antwerpen: Garant.Google Scholar
  4. Chahim, D., & Prakash, A. (2013). NGOization, foreign funding, and the Nicaraguan civil society. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 25, 487–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Choudry, A., & Kapoor, D. (2013). NGOization: Complicity, contradictions and prospects. New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, A. (1981). The politics of elite culture: Explorations in the dramaturgy of power in a modern African society. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Comaroff, J., & Comaroff, J. L. (2012). Figuring democracy. Theory from the South: Or, how Euro-America is evolving toward Africa. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Cooke, B., & Kothari, U. (2001). Participation: The new tyranny? New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  9. Duffield, M. (2001a). Editorial: Politics and humanitarian aid. Disasters, 25(4), 269–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Duffield, M. R. (2001b). Global governance and the new wars: The merging of development and security. In London. New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  11. FAO. (2004, December). Disabled in Sierra Leone prove disability is not inability. FAO Newsroom.Google Scholar
  12. Fassin, D. (2012). Humanitarian reason. In A moral history of the present. Berkeley, CA: The Regents of the University of California.Google Scholar
  13. Foucault, M., & Khalfa, J. (2006). History of madness. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Goffman, E. (1962). Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. Chicago: Aldine Pub. Co.Google Scholar
  15. Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma; notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  16. Hale, H. E. (2002). Civil society from above? Statist and liberal models of state-building in Russia. Demokratizatsiya, 10(2), 306–321.Google Scholar
  17. Harbeson, J. W., Rothchild, D. S., & Chazan, N. (1994). Civil society and the state in Africa. Boulder: L. Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Hours, B. (1998). L’idéologie humanitaire ou le spectacle de l’altérité perdue. Paris: L’Harmatan.Google Scholar
  19. Hudock, A. (1999). NGOs and civil society: Democracy by proxy?/Ann C. Hudock. Malden, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  20. Ingstad, B., & Whyte, S. R. (1995). Disability and culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kemény, I. (Ed.). (1976). Beszámoló a magyarországi cigányok helyzetével foglalkozó 1971-ben végzett kutatásról. Budapest: MTA Szociológiai Intézet kiadványai.Google Scholar
  22. King, N. (2007). Conflict as integration youth aspiration to personhood in the teleology of Sierra Leone’s ‘senseless war’. Current African Issues. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.Google Scholar
  23. King, N. (2012). Contested spaces in post-war society. The devil business in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Halle, Germany: Martin-Luther Universitate.Google Scholar
  24. Little, K. L. (1957). The role of voluntary associations in West African Urbanisation. American Anthropologist New Series, 59(4), 579–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Little, K. L. (1960). West African Urbanisation as a social process. Cahiers d’Études Africaines, 1(Cahier 3), 90–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Little, K. (1967). Voluntary associations in urban life: A case study of differential adaptation. In M. Freedman (Ed.), Social organisation. Essays presented to Raymond Firth. London: F. Cass.Google Scholar
  27. Magazinier, R. D. (2006). One word: Listening to early violence in Colonial Sierra Leone. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin.Google Scholar
  28. McNaughton, P. R. (1988). The Mande blacksmiths: knowledge, power, and art in West Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Meyers, S. (2016). NGO-ization and human rights law: The CRPD’s civil society mandate. Laws, 5(21), 1–14.Google Scholar
  30. Nunley, J. W. (1987). Moving with the face of the devil: Art and politics in urban West Africa. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  31. Nunley, J. (1988). Purity and pollution in Freetown: Masked Performance. TDR, 32(2), 102–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ovadiya, M., & Zampaglione, G. (2009). Escaping stigma and neglect. People with disabilities in Sierra Leone. Working Paper. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  33. Philips, S. D. (2011). Disability and mobile citizenship in post socialist Ukraine. Indiana: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Pouligny, B. (2005). Civil society and post-conflict peacebuilding: Ambiguities of international programmes aimed at building ‘New’ Societies. Security Dialogue, 36(4), 495–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rabinow, P. (1996). Artificiality and enlightenment: From sociobiology to biosociality. Essays on the anthropology of reason. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Rahnema, M. (1997). Participation. In W. Sachs (Ed.), The development dictionary: A guide to knowledge as power. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  37. Rist, G. (2006). The history of development. From western origins to global faith. London [u.a.]: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  38. Rose, N. S. (1999). Powers of freedom: Reframing political thought. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rose, N. N., & Carlos, N. (2008). Biological citizenship. In A. Ong & S. J. Collier (Eds.), Global assemblages: Technology, politics, and ethics as anthropological problems. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  40. Statistics_Sierra_Leone. (2004). National population and housing census, 2004 Sierra Leone. Analytical report.Google Scholar
  41. Szántó, D. (2011). A gyarmatosítástól a nemzetközi fejlesztésig: az észak-déli kapcsolatok történetének rövid áttekintése. (East-West, North-South, Development and underdevelopment: A short history of inequality). Ethnographia 1/2.Google Scholar
  42. Toje, A. (2013). State capture of civil society. In L. Trägårdh, N. Witoszek, & B. R. Taylor (Eds.), Civil society in the age of monitory democracy (vi, 350 p.). New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
  43. Trani, J.-F., Bah, O., Bailey, N., Browne, J., Groce, N., & Kett, N. (2009). Disability in and around urban areas of Sierra Leone. In L. Carmi (Ed.), Disability. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  44. Tremain, S. (2005). Foucault and the government of disability. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  45. Tripp, A. M. (2009). In pursuit of authority: Civil society and right based discourses in Africa. In J. W. Harbeson, & D. S. Rothchild (Eds.), Africa in world politics: Reforming political order (xvi, 408 p.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  46. UNICEF_Sierra_Leone and Statistics_Sierra_Leone. (2007). Sierra Leone Multiple indicator survey cluster 2005. Monitoring the situation of children and women. Final Report. Freetown.Google Scholar
  47. Williams, G. (2004). Evaluating participatory development: Tyranny, power and (re)politicisation. Third World Quarterly, 25(3), 557–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. World Health Organization. (1981). Disability prevention and rehabilitation: Report of the WHO expert committee on disability prevention and rehabilitation. Technical Report Series 668. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  49. Young, N. (2004). NGOs, the diverse origins, changing nature and growing internationalisation of the species. China Development Brief.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Szántó
    • 1
  1. 1.BudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations