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The 'Cacophony' of life and death: the impact of the pandemic on persons with disabilities in Ukraine

Sharapov, Kiril



As of January 2021, about 2.7 million persons in Ukraine were officially registered as having a disability. The Ukrainian Government policies in relation to the economic and social wellbeing of people with disabilities (PWDs) could be, at best, described as inadequate in their scope, reach and funding; or, at worst, as a failure of acknowledgment and response (Rose 2011) - the necropolitical abandonment of the country's most vulnerable individual and communities (Mbembe 2019, Povinelli 2011).
COVID-19 exacerbated existing inequalities and vulnerabilities with devastating consequences for Ukraine’s most vulnerable groups: PWDs and, particularly, internally displaced PWDs. This paper presents the outcomes of the project which evaluated the impact of the pandemic on Ukrainian PWDs, with a particular focus on internally displaced PWDs. Funded by GCRF and AHRC, the project was conducted in March - December 2021, and is the first ever participatory community-based research project in Ukraine focussing on disability.
By relying on rhythmanalysis (Lefebvre 1992, Lyon 2020) as both a conceptual framework and a methodological approach, the paper will present the rich data drawn from the interviews conducted by the project’s community-based researchers, and from written diaries and video-testimonies self-recorded by PWDs affected by internal displacement in Ukraine. In doing so, the paper will relay a mosaic of views and opinions of PWDs on the temporal and spatial ‘cacophony’ of closures and lockdowns, isolation and abandonment, death and sickness on the one hand, and of resilience and ‘getting by’, dedication and commitment, daily adaptations and creativity on the other hand.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name BSA Virtual Annual Conference 2022: Building Equality and Justice Now
Start Date Apr 20, 2022
End Date Apr 22, 2022
Deposit Date Apr 7, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 14, 2022
Keywords Disability, Ukraine, neoliberalism, social justice, inequality, COVID-19
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