Social citizenship, disability and welfare provision in contemporary Russia: views from below


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Rasell, Michael (2011). Social citizenship, disability and welfare provision in contemporary Russia: views from below. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis uses an area studies approach to examine the complex relationship between citizenship, disability and welfare provision. It does so through a bottom-up analysis of how the state welfare system affects the everyday lives of physically disabled adults in contemporary Russia. Drawing on thirteen months of qualitative fieldwork in the city of Kazan, I study how tensions between guaranteeing rights and providing care are balanced in social provision. My focus on physical disability offers a sharp insight into the socially constructed tropes of control and exclusion that can mediate experiences of citizenship and also seeks to rectify the lack of research on disabled people in non-Western contexts, especially the postsocialist region.

My research is underpinned by a theoretical and methodological framework that sees ‘social citizenship’ as an explicitly relational, emotional and embodied phenomenon and therefore values lived experiences of welfare provision. Each of my four empirical chapters considers a particular dimension of citizenship: needs interpretation, livelihoods, mobility and personal agency. Together they highlight that welfare provision is not always empowering and can create powerful inequalities. At the same time, I show that citizenship is often reworked from below through actions and discourses that challenge official ideas about the capacities and needs of disabled people.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races


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