Universal Notions of Development and Disability: Towards Whose Imagined Vision?

RAO, Shridevi
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22 pp

This paper addresses the epistemological dissonance created by the growing movement to impose universal templates of disability and disability-related practices to countries in the Global South and the subsequent erasure of indigenous understandings of disability. Underlying this dissonance, we argue, are the deeply problematic beliefs in universal notions of disability and global development that are anchored to colonial frameworks of understanding and approaching human differences. We explore the presence of these colonial frameworks in three specific areas: the language of disability; understandings of personhood; and notions of inclusivity. We propose that bringing about transformation in these areas would mean using alternative indigenous strengthsbased frameworks of thinking and practices that uncover and value local epistemologies, understanding the complexities of local cultural, historical, and material contexts, and resisting colonial modes of thinking that label these practices as backward.


Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2020, Vol. 7 No. 1

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