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"Undisabled by Covid": Reflections of a (usually disabled) socio-legal scholar

Williams, Clare (2022) "Undisabled by Covid": Reflections of a (usually disabled) socio-legal scholar. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 20 (3). pp. 1326-1336. ISSN 1474-2640. (doi:10.1093/icon/moac059) (KAR id:93823)


We have all been disabled by Covid; routines interrupted, interactions curtailed, access denied. For many, this was a new and troubling form of existence. For some though, like me, this was normal life. As a socio-legal scholar who uses a wheelchair full time, exclusion from academic spaces, and the interactions that went on in those spaces, was the norm. And then Covid arrived. Lockdowns made working and socialising from home mandatory, and in the process, disabled the rest of society overnight. This had the ironic impact of levelling the playing field for those of us accustomed to exclusion by the built environment.

This paper recounts my lived experiences of lockdown, and explores the results for those with physical impairments of the massive social experiment into virtual and hybrid working that was necessitated by the pandemic. It argues that by focusing on individual choice to determine future hybrid working arrangements, when for many that choice is not freely made, we risk further entrenching disadvantage. In the context of higher education and research, the result is the full realisation of the neoliberal academy in which scholars with disabilities are blamed for their own self-exclusion.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/icon/moac059
Projects: Beyond Embeddedness: Rethinking an Economic Sociology of Law
Additional information: Dr Williams gratefully acknowledges the support and funding for her Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from ESRC-SeNSS. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled keywords: Law, disability, Covid, pandemic, remote, hybrid, wheelchair, neoliberal
Subjects: J Political Science
K Law
L Education
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (
Depositing User: Clare Williams
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2022 07:09 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 11:47 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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