Article in Disability & Society

Elisabeth De Schauwer, Silke Daelman, Hanne Vandenbussche, Sofie Sergeant, Inge Van de Putte and Bronwyn Davies published an article in the March 2020 edition of Disability & Society: 'Desiring and critiquing humanity/ability/ personhood: disrupting the ability/disability binary'.

The fight that nobody wins

The authors of this article delved into their photo archive and their own youth. They went in search of their personal struggle with their own abilities and the confrontation with their inabilities.


Veelkoppige draak

The authors all recognized the stubborn AND multi-headed dragon in their lives: their own hydra. For every dragon head that conquers the knight, two appear in its place. For every challenge that you overcome, new challenges appear instead: more, further, different.

I have to show what I can do. Use my personal capital. Show that I am capable of it. Look, see me do, see what I can do. Can YOU do that too? Can you do that too? Can you ALSO do that?
To convince the other. Don't fall through the basket. Don't show that I'm faltering.
No, not me, I stay upright in the world of winners.

It is and remains a stubborn phenomenon: that we must talk about "disability" in order to ultimately end up with our own "ability" (the ability to succeed and to succeed). The authors saw - through their own stubborn fight - how beautiful it can be to "succeed", but also how we put each other offside. The authors were confronted with the fact that we too want to be there, in our proverbial knight's suit, in the world of those who "make it". And in every life there comes a moment of less energy, of illness, of aging, ... which puts our ambitions under pressure.

In the article the authors challenge the readers to leave the dichotomy "normality" and "abnormality". It is by working together and living together, by connecting, that we can transcend that dichotomy. You can read the article as an ode to diversity and as a plea for room for differentness and being different.


For more information, please email to Sofie Sergeant:


Elisabeth De Schauwer, Silke Daelman, Hanne Vandenbussche, Sofie Sergeant, Inge Van de Putte & Bronwyn Davies (2020): Desiring and critiquing humanity/ability/personhood: disrupting the ability/disability binary, Disability & Society, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2020.1735306