Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine

Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine

Sarah D. Phillips
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/5/2010
ISBN: 978-0-253-00486-4
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Honorable Mention, 2011 Davis Center Book Prize
Honorable Mention, 2011 Heldt Prize, Association for Women in Slavic Studies
Sarah D. Phillips examines the struggles of disabled persons in Ukraine and the other former Soviet states to secure their rights during the tumultuous political, economic, and social reforms of the last two decades. Through participant observation and interviews with disabled Ukrainians across the social spectrum—rights activists, politicians, students, workers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and others—Phillips documents the creative strategies used by people on the margins of postsocialist societies to assert claims to “mobile citizenship.” She draws on this rich ethnographic material to argue that public storytelling is a powerful means to expand notions of relatedness, kinship, and social responsibility, and which help shape a more tolerant and inclusive society.

Author Bio

Sarah D. Phillips is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington and author of Women’s Social Activism in the New Ukraine (IUP, 2008).


"A masterfully written ethnography. . . . [Phillips] breaks new ground in offering us a glimpse as to how fundamental concepts of identity, gender, and belonging can inscribe themselves on the body and yet be shattered in a moment with devastating consequences." —Catherine Wanner, Pennsylvania State University

"Well written and yet accessible, both descriptive and analytical . . . a contribution to disability studies, to Soviet and postsocialist ethnography, to the anthropology of disability, and to the study of NGOs and social movements." —Devva Kasnitz, University of California, Berkeley

"Crafted with an interdisciplinary audience in mind, [this] volume will be of interest to historians of disability, Europe, and the Soviet Union, as well as to cultural and medical anthropologists. Written with accessibility in mind, Phillips weaves theoretical concerns into narrative accounts and historical and ethnographic detail." —
H-Disability , May 2011

"[This] entire study is a much-needed and welcome addition to the postsocialist literature and would fit well in anthropology, as well as interdisciplinary, courses on Russian and Eastern European studies." —

"This ethnography is quite accessible and would be appropriate for courses in applied, medical, and development anthropology, anthropology of globalization and cultural change, as well as to historians of disability, and gender studies scholars and students." —Anthropology of East Europe Review

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Living Disability and Mobilizing Citizenship in Postsocialism
1. A Parallel World
2. Out of History
3. Disability Rights and Disability Wrongs
4. Regeneration
5. Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in the Era of “Posts”
Appendix I: Notes on Terminology and Methods
Appendix II: List of Abbreviations