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Critical Disability Studies Thematic Group


Sociology and Disability Justice Transforming our World

Sociology and Disability Justice: Transforming our World

Social Sciences Week 2021

Ryan Thorneycroft, Western Sydney University: What is sociology and why is it important for our futures?

Judy Singer, The Australian Sociological Association: How can sociology promote social change for a more just society?

Raelene West, RMIT University: Doing sociology to change everyday practices of ableism, disability and inclusion in our worlds

Lizzie Knight, Victoria University: You and the future of sociology

Chair: Karen Soldatic, Western Sydney University


Speaker Bios:

Lizzie Knight
Lizzie Knight is an educational sociologist who works as a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Research on Education Systems at the dual sector institution, Victoria University. A key area of interest is equity of access to and in tertiary education, the provision of institutional information and support for transition into post-school education. Lizzie has worked against disability discrimination in post-school settings for the last 20 years and sits on the Executive of the Victorian Disability Discrimination Legal Service also been a professional careers counsellor for 10 years. She acts as the research advisor for the Career Industry Council of Australia and sits on the executive of the Australian Vocational Education Research Association.


Judy Singer
Judy Singer is recognized for coining the word “Neurodiversity” as an addition to the categories of Intersectionality and calling for a Politics of Neurodiversity. The term named the movement for advancing the recognition, positive re-evaluation and inclusion of neurological minorities with conditions such as Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, ADHD and the "Dys" Abilities. This movement is now gathering momentum. There is now a proliferation of self-advocacy groups and business startups capitalising on a climate of interest in the benefits and justice of including neurodivergent people. And major corporations and government agencies are implementing neurodiversity policies. Nevertheless there is considerable confusion about the term and its implications.


 Ryan Thorneycroft is a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences and a member of the Sexualities and Genders Research (SaGR) strand. He is an early career researcher and recently published his first book, Reimagining Disablist and Ableist Violence as Abjection, with Routledge's Interdisciplinary Disability Studies series. He has published in a range of leading journals, including Theoretical Criminology, Disability & Society, Porn Studies, and the International Journal for Crime, Justice, and Social Democracy. Ryan's previous work has focused on hate crime and vulnerability, and his current research areas, sitting at the intersections of criminology and sociology, include ableism, crip theory, critical disability studies, porn studies, mad studies, violence, and abjection. He is broadly interested in the ways in which marginalised populations are constituted and regulated, and is particularly interested in their experiences and understandings of violence.


Raelene West
Raelene West, RMIT University: Doing sociology to change everyday practices of ableism, understanding disability and inclusion in our worlds. Raelene has lived experience of disability, becoming a quadriplegic as a result of a car accident 20 years ago. Her particular areas of interest are improving disability and aged care community-based support services. She has a PhD in Sociology - Disability from the University of Melbourne, has been on numerous disability committees and won the 2014 field scholarship where she completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment in examining disability workforce training frameworks. Dr West also has experience in disability advocacy, has sat on committee of disability service providers in examining business and management strategy, standards and practice in frontline delivery of services. Dr West is currently working as a Social Researcher at RMIT University. She has extensive research experience in examining operationalisation of disability and older person support service framework such as exploring social constructions of ableism, use-misuse of restrictive practices, social inclusion, safeguarding of PWD and human rights. Dr West has published papers relating to human rights and health, NDIS self-management frameworks, ableism, individualised funding as a concept and emerging online uber-style service markets.

Karen Soldatic
Karen Soldatic is a critical disability scholar whose work examines the intersectionality of disability as it cuts across race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality diversity, class and caste, and Indigeneity. Her engagement with disability issues is based upon her extensive international (Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia), national and state based experience as a policy advisor, researcher and educator.


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Group Conveners:

Lise Mogensen
Lise Mogensen
Western Sydney University 

Karen Soldatic
Karen Soldatic
Western Sydney University 

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