by Allison Carey

About Allison Carey

Allison Carey is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies at Shippensburg University. She is author of On the Margins of Citizenship: Intellectual Disability and Civil Rights in 20th Century America (2009). Carey is also coeditor of Disability and Community (2001) and Disability Incarcerated: Disability and Imprisonment in the United States and Canada (2014).


Although the disability rights movement (DRM) and the field of disability studies (DS) have emerged and blossomed together, the two have developed along slightly different trajectories. While the DRM has demanded the establishment of laws and policies that treat people with disabilities as equal and valued citizens, DS has created the intellectual and creative groundwork to reimagine disability not as a biological defect but as a valued form of human variation that exists within and is deeply affected by its social context. Because the DRM uses rights as its organizing framework, it is not surprising that citizenship and rights are central intellectual concepts in DS as well. For example, the DRM slogan “nothing about us without us” encapsulates an ideology of valued and equal citizenship. Disability studies has taken up this call by examining the meaning, content, and impact of citizenship as well as the ways in which disability is central to systems of citizenship.