Needed Subjects: An Ethnography of the Formation of the Inclusion Complex in Russia


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




What is it that sustains the social inclusion of people with disabilities, and why do so many well-funded domestic initiatives to cultivate inclusion fail? This ethnographic research project addresses these questions in the context of postsocialist Russia, a country that in the past decade has undertaken a shift from segregationist disability policies toward a cultural and political orientation of inclusion. Based on 21 months of fieldwork, this dissertation examines attempts to produce and promote a sustainable culture of inclusivity among disabled and nondisabled individuals. It critically interrogates the undebated universalized moral value of inclusion and documents the social effects produced by different, sometimes contradictory, interpretations of inclusion, which populate the contemporary Russian landscape of governmental and civic initiatives of social betterment.