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By Konstantin Paustovsky, Manya Harari, Michael Duncan

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There have also been cuts to the Access to Work scheme, which allowed disabled people assistance at work. Yet, at the same time, the coalition government are justifying such cuts by representing those who were reliant on state support as ‘lazy’ and ‘scroungers’ (Garthwaite 2011). Drawing on Dyer, Titchkosky (2000) reminds us that representations are not a ‘true’ reflection of ‘reality’. Representations cannot reflect the extensity and complexity of ‘reality’. One representation cannot represent a heterogeneous group of people.

Yet, Mr Reasonable’s most able response to the question of access is to individualise: ‘you cannot access work due to disability. But, as we are Reasonable Men, we will meet your individual access demands, if they too are Reasonable’. As Titchkosky (2011: 77) tells us, seeking reason for demands of accessibility means that ‘whether or not the reasons for lack of access are judged good or bad, the social activity of people seeking reasons fosters the sensibility that lack of access is reasonable’.

Thatcher’s statement sums up a neoliberal politic of personal responsibility. Yet Sothern (2007) argues that positioning neoliberalism as anti-society does not sufficiently capture the pervasiveness, complexities or contradictions of neoliberal doctrines. If we continue our brief history, the merits of Sothern’s argument become clearer. Thatcher was followed by another Conservative Prime Minister, John Major, until 1997 when New Labour took power, with Tony Blair as Prime Minister. A New Labour government, however, did not mean a return to the previous era of a strong state.

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Story of a A Life vol. 3 - In That Dawn by Konstantin Paustovsky, Manya Harari, Michael Duncan


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