Disability: Resistance, Disruption and Transgression

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Indian Disability Studies in Association with SGTB Khalsa College, Delhi University and Centre for Disability Research and Training, Kirori Mal College, Delhi University
contact email: 

Indian Disability Studies Collective (IDSC)

In association with

Centre for Disability Research and Training, Kirori Mal College, Delhi University


Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Delhi University



Disability: Resistance, Disruption and Transgression

The word ‘resistance’ finds its roots in the Latin resistere: a combination of re which, as a morpheme, roughly symbolises a force back(ward) and sistere-to stand affirm. At the heart of the idea of resistance, then, there is titanic will towards the conservation of a self, individual and/or collective, against an encroaching force of aggressors. Over the ages, the phenomenon of resistance, driven by this essential will, has evolved multiple forms of manifestation as it has accrued frameworks for the individual and social desires for a renegotiation of the terrains of power. Thus, one witnesses, in the application of resistance, a broad range of behaviours and actions ranging from overt rebellion to covert acts of defiance. Not only have these diverse methodologies of resisting allowed different reactions to different forms of encroachments but have, rather comprehensively, also changed the way different socio-cultural entities and existences, across spatio-temporal coordinates, entangle with the needs of phenomenal resistance. Between the essential will and the different forms of manifestation, then, there is, implicit within the form of resistance, both a singularity and a multiplicity. No wonder then, as Hollander and Einhower (2004) show in their survey, different theoretical frameworks have defined resistance differently and yet, rather instinctually, maintaining the heart in the moment of the action of that will: ‘acting autonomously, in [one’s] own interests’ (Gregg 1993); ‘active efforts to oppose, fight and refuse to cooperate with or submit to...abusive behaviour and ...control’ (Profitt 1996); ‘engaging in behaviours despite opposition’ (Carr 1998); or simply ‘questioning and objecting’ (Modigliani and Rochat, 1995). Within the modalities of this complex nature of resistance, finally, also lies the possibilities of its scale. It could, on the one hand, be acted at a grand ideological level by explicit collective mass movements or, on the other, find an actant within the individual’s “everyday” resistance that fits well with the understandings of less institutionalized but pervasive forms and modes.

Within such a theoretical framework, we propose to understand the concept of resistance in relation to disability. The questions, then, which come up immediately are: what happens when we discuss resistance with respect to the disabled identity in particular? When and where do disabled people tender resistance? Is it in everyday situations or in more systemic contexts, for example within families or against the education system? What compels them to such a pushback? What are the many ways in which disabled people resist oppressive able-bodied norms, values and discriminatory practices, like the idea of a normal body? How do they reencounter and resist stigma, hegemony and social control? How do they issue a challenge to their personal realities, existing societal structures, cultural labels and proscriptions that serve to demean and devalue them? What are the various micro-level (individual/family), meso-level (institutional) and macro-level (social/ideological) ways that disabled people tender resistance? Is there a way to categorise the types of such resistance? What do we mean by passive or active resistance in the context of disability? How might we move from narrower conceptions of resistance in everyday lives in the context of disability to more broadly based ones? What are these conceptions? How might the complexity of the phenomenon or action or opposition be captured? How might we have a more nuanced understanding of how hegemony and resistance operate in the context of disability? This conference seeks answers to these and other related emergent questions with a focus on the complexities that resistance itself presents.  

The Organising Committee welcomes research papers from a wide variety of interdisciplinary and theoretical perspectives, and submissions are organised into (but not necessarily confined to) the streams and sub-streams listed below:


  • Conceptualising Disability Resistance
  • Identity formation and Resistance
  • Able bodied Hegemonies and Disablism
  • Disability Resistance and other marginalised identities such as: caste, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, regionality, and so on.
  • Everyday modes of Resistance


Prospective participants are requested to send a 300 words long abstract to idscconf2021@gmail.com with a 50 word bio-note.


Points to Remember

▪          Conference Dates: 29th November 2021-3rd December 2021 

▪          Final Abstract (of 300 words) Submission Deadline: 30th September 2021

▪          Results of abstract review returned to authors: by 15th October 2021

▪          Registration Fee: INR 500 for paper readers and INR 300 for participants

▪          Final date of registration and fee payment: 10th November 2021


For any questions or queries please write to: idscconf2021@gmail.com