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Disability Law in a Pandemic: The Temporal Folds of Medico-legal Violence

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Disabled people are subject to disability laws – such as guardianship, mental health and mental capacity legislation – which only apply to them, and which enable legal violence on the basis of disability (‘disability-specific lawful violence’). While public health laws during the COVID-19 pandemic enabled coercive interventions in the general population, disabled people have additionally been subject to the continued, and at times intensified, operation of disability laws and their lawful violence. In this article we engage with scholarship on law, temporality and disability to explore the amplification of disability-specific lawful violence during the pandemic. We show how this amplification has been made possible through the folding of longstanding assumptions about disabled people – as at risk of police contact; as vulnerable, unhealthy and contaminating – into the immediate crisis of the pandemic; ignoring structural drivers of oppression, and responsibilising disabled people for their circumstances and the violence they experience.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Spivakovsky, C., & Steele, L. R. (2022). Disability Law in a Pandemic: The Temporal Folds of Medico-legal Violence. Social and Legal Studies, 31(2), 175-196. doi:10.1177/09646639211022795

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85107605744

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 175

End Page


  • 196

Volume


  • 31

Issue


  • 2

Abstract


  • Disabled people are subject to disability laws – such as guardianship, mental health and mental capacity legislation – which only apply to them, and which enable legal violence on the basis of disability (‘disability-specific lawful violence’). While public health laws during the COVID-19 pandemic enabled coercive interventions in the general population, disabled people have additionally been subject to the continued, and at times intensified, operation of disability laws and their lawful violence. In this article we engage with scholarship on law, temporality and disability to explore the amplification of disability-specific lawful violence during the pandemic. We show how this amplification has been made possible through the folding of longstanding assumptions about disabled people – as at risk of police contact; as vulnerable, unhealthy and contaminating – into the immediate crisis of the pandemic; ignoring structural drivers of oppression, and responsibilising disabled people for their circumstances and the violence they experience.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Spivakovsky, C., & Steele, L. R. (2022). Disability Law in a Pandemic: The Temporal Folds of Medico-legal Violence. Social and Legal Studies, 31(2), 175-196. doi:10.1177/09646639211022795

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85107605744

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 175

End Page


  • 196

Volume


  • 31

Issue


  • 2