Disability and Justice (MANCEPT 2024)

September 4, 2024 - September 6, 2024
University of Manchester

United Kingdom

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2024 MANCEPT Workshops -- 4-6 SEPTEMBER

Disability and Justice

Convenors: Miklos Zala (CEPDISC, Aarhus University); Elvio Baccarini (University of Rijeka)

What is disability—what does it mean to be disabled, how do we identify conditions of disability? How should the state treat its physically and cognitively disabled members, and what does an inclusive society look like? While traditional theories of justice decades ago gave only passing attention to the question of disability, there has been a growing interest in analyzing disability from the point of view of justice in recent years. This workshop panel aims to bring together scholars interested in advancing these questions about disability and has two foci. The first focus is on the definition of disability because how we approach disability from the perspective of justice will depend on how we define it and how we classify certain conditions as disability/non-disability. The second is on normative responses to disability disadvantage and various justice-related questions concerning disability.

During just the last one-and-a-half decade, several essential contributions have been aimed at clarifying the definition of disability (Kahane and Savulescu 2009; Barnes 2016; Lim 2018; Howard and Aas 2018; Gregory 2020; Jenkins and Webster 2021) and the classification of what conditions count as disabilities (Graham 2013; Glackin 2016; Begon 2023) and various justice-related questions about physical and cognitive disability (Francis 2009; Wong 2009; Hartley 2009; Wolff 2009; Terzi 2010; Robeyns 2016; Aas 2017; Wasserman and Aas 2017; Barclay 2018; Kittay 2018;  Brown 2021; Begon 2023). 

Against this background, we invite contributions to address topics that fall into these two categories, addressing the following disability-related questions (the list is non-exhaustive):

1. Conceptual themes: what is disability?  What is the most plausible definition or model of disability? Can a definition or model unify the myriad conditions commonly identified as disabilities? Is there a neutral model of disability? Can disability models establish normative conclusions about what response should be given to disability disadvantage? What is ableism? 

What conditions can be defined as disabilities? There are conditions conventionally identified as disabilities but whose classification as such has now been contested, claiming that such conditions are merely cases of human diversity. How should we distinguish between cases of mere diversity and cases of disability?

2.  Normative themes: what social responses are justified to eliminate or mitigate disability disadvantage? What justice metric is most appropriate to advance disability justice? What makes disability discrimination wrong? Is discrimination or oppression the better concept to theorize about disability disadvantage?

Contributions will also be welcomed on such questions as epistemic injustice and disability, ideal and nonideal theory in the light of disability, disability and social contract theories, disability and public reason, feminism and disability, the conceptual difference between structural discrimination and structural injustice through the lens of disability disadvantage, disability and adaptive preferences, disability and paternalism, the ethics of care, the case of invisible disability and justice, intellectual and mental disability in a just society, cognitive disability and the question of personal autonomy.

Participants can also address various disability-related applied ethical topics, including but not limited to whether healthcare rationing discriminates against disabled people or not, disability in the COVID-19 epidemic, and ethical questions related to prenatal testing and end-of-life decisions. 

Students and scholars with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply, and colleagues of all career stages (including postgraduate level) can participate. We invite approximately 500-word abstracts to be sent to [email protected] and [email protected] no later than June 7th.  

MANCEPT will be an in-person conference this year. Conference Registration Fees: £295 (for Academics) £165 (PG); Dinner: £40 (for Academics), £25 (for PGs). After acceptance, graduate students can apply for a small number of fee-waiver bursaries (the deadline is June 28th).

For those selected participants who wish to apply for a bursary, please contact [email protected] and provide an outline of their financial situation by 28th of June. 


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