Disability and Forced Migration: Intersections and Critical Debates

  • Maria PisaniEmail author
  • Shaun Grech
  • Ayman Mostafa
Part of the International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice book series (IPSPAP)


We live in unprecedented times – the number of displaced people has reached extraordinary proportions, as more and more people are forced to flee their homes. Poverty, environmental degradation, persecution, war and conflict are not only the source of mass displacement, but also the source of impoverishment and impairment. And yet, rarely visible, seldom heard, disabled forced migrants are persistently recast in an epistemological and ontological shadow. This chapter explores the disability/forced migration nexus in an attempt to understand some of the critical intersectionalities that emerge, and their implications for theory and practice. We argue that forced migration studies, as well as humanitarian responses, maintain an ableist approach focusing on heteronormative productive bodies, whilst disability studies continues to pursue social justice and access to rights within a corpus of knowledge framed within the hegemony of sovereign structures and liberal democratic norms, thus excluding the non-citizen disabled body.Engaging a critical approach, in this chapter we frame the study of disability and forced migration within broader global political, economic and social structures and processes, that seeks to locate the multidimensional individual within macro structures and processes, whilst acknowledging how the agency of the subaltern disabled forced migrant located in the global South persistently confronts, challenges and negotiates such global structures.


Migration Forced migration Refugees Asylum seekers Global migration policy Human rights Citizenship 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Youth and Community StudiesUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta
  2. 2.Centre for Global Disability ResearchThe Critical InstituteAttardMalta
  3. 3.Independent researcherMsidaMalta

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