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The Place of Disgust: Disability, Class and Gender in Spaces of Workfare

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Author(s): Karen Soldatic | Helen Meekosha

Journal: Societies
ISSN 2075-4698

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 139;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: disability | gender | class | disgust | respectability | welfare reform

ABSTRACT
This paper explores the role of disgust in mediating disabled women's experience of workfare in the Australian state. As global social policy has been restructured along neoliberal lines in Western nations, the notion of ‘workfare’ has been widely promulgated. This paper draws on nine case studies from across Australia to explore how this has resulted in disabled women being coerced to participate in a range of workfare programs that are highly bureaucratised, sanitised and moralised. The findings suggest that with the advent of Australian neoliberal welfare reform, some disabled women are increasingly framed in negative affective terms. A primary emotion that appears to govern disabled women forced to participate in Australian neoliberal workfare programs is disgust. The experience of the participants interviewed for this study suggests that the naming of them in negative emotional terms requires disabled women to perform a respectable unruly corporeality to ensure that they gain and maintain access to a range of services and supports, which are vital to their wellbeing.
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