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Ableism in Academia: Where are the disabled and ill academics?

Brown, Nicole, Leigh, Jennifer S (2018) Ableism in Academia: Where are the disabled and ill academics? Disability and Society, 33 (6). pp. 985-989. ISSN 0968-7599. (doi:10.1080/09687599.2018.1455627) (KAR id:66490)

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Abstract

Recent coverage in relevant Higher Education newspapers and corresponding social media platforms, imply that chronic conditions, illnesses and disabilities are becoming more prominent amongst academics. Changes to funding structures (Thompson and Bekhradnia, 2010), increased globalisation, marketisation and bureaucratisation of Higher Education (Tilak, 2008; Gewirtz and Cribb, 2013) have resulted in a performance-driven working environment where teaching workload and pressures to publish are further intensified due to excellence exercises in teaching and research. The result is low morale (Sutton, 2017) and an ever-rising number of reported mental health issues, burnout and stress-related illnesses within academia (Abouserie, 1996; Taris et al., 2001; Opstrup and Pihl-Thingvad, 2016; Darabi et al., 2017). To an extent, this heightened coverage and interest is linked to an increased awareness, acceptance and tolerance of disabilities and chronic illnesses within society in general, and the Higher Education sector in particular. Specific illness experiences are becoming more openly discussed, which results in increased numbers of disclosures. The proportion of staff in universities disclosing conditions or impairments rose from 2.2% in 2003-04 to 3.9% in 2012-13 (HESA, 2017). However, according to government demographics 16% of working age adults (GOV, 2014), and nearly 13% of undergraduates have a known disability (HESA, 2017). Considering these statistics, there is a stark underrepresentation of disabilities, chronic conditions, invisible illnesses and neurodiversity amongst academic staff.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/09687599.2018.1455627
Uncontrolled keywords: Ableism disability academia academics mental health chronic illness
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Directorate of Education > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Jennifer Leigh
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 09:49 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:53 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/66490 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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