Society and Identity
Critical underpinnings of the field of Critical Disability Studies have often been dominated by Eurocentric ways of understanding and engaging with the concepts of disability and identity. However, there exist Asian epistemologies related to identity formation and disability. Furthermore, the field of critical disability studies has predominantly focussed on physical disability; and issues related to psychosocial disabilities have garnered less attention.
This paper will present emerging findings from a project (EURIKHA) mapping the knowledge produced by persons with psychosocial disabilities and its impact. As a survivor-led research project, it centres the voices and work of persons with psychosocial disabilities. By focussing on situated knowledges, the project and this paper will explore how the collective work of persons with psychosocial disabilities subvert the existing hierarchies of knowledge about psychosocial disabilities, which are under scrutiny in the ‘West’ by a wide coalition of critical academics, yet nevertheless are being exported wholesale to the global south. Based on interviews with advocates, activists, and academics in Asia who identify as persons with psychosocial disabilities, the paper will discuss the emergence and elaboration of an Asian epistemology of identity formation, particularly in relation to psychosocial disability.
Using critical discourse analysis, the paper will tease out the ways in which Asian understandings of psychosocial disabilities are emerging both as a challenge to and in collaboration with European epistemologies.
Keywords: Asia, epistemology, disability, psychosocial disabilities, knowledge, Europe, madness, identity, critical discourse analysis