The dynamics of inclusion and exclusion for people with disabilities and the places in which they live are being challenged in Australia with the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This paper reports on the experiences of a place-based and participatory action research project in regional Tasmania which sought to co-create citizenship opportunities with co-researchers living with disability. We report on our experience of negotiating this ambitious and emergent project through the uncertain and shifting terrain of the contemporary neoliberal policy and service context. We highlight the rich gains as well as the significant relational, contextual and procedural challenges of operationalising and staying true to bottom up and strengths-based community development principles. Key learnings relate to risks of creating liminal spaces for community action, about power and authority, and about the skills, resources and labour needed to unearth and mobilise individual and community strengths. We argue that there remains a significant tension between the aspirations of collective action and contemporary services and policy structures that reproduce liminality, silent positioning and place denial. This research challenges traditional disability centric notions of inclusion and place and has implications for the NDIS, for policies at risk of reproducing disabling dynamics, for service innovation and collaboration and for all social workers and others working to develop more inclusive communities.
SOURCE: Ramcharan, P., David, C., & Marx, K. (2020). “You are here! Negotiating liminality in place in the context of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.” Qualitative Social Work, 19(3), 359–379. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325020915775
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