Associate Professor Jesper Vaczy Kragh: Patterns of inclusions and exclusion: History, disability and the welfare state

In recent years, welfare state historians have noted the central position of disability in 20th-century welfare discourses and policies. Few of these studies, however, draw upon archival materials that can illuminate the effects of key political changes at the institutional level. Nor do they specifically address experiences of persons with disabilities. In my talk, I will link the history of disability with that of the Danish welfare state and examine how conceptions of disability interact with discussions of inclusion and exclusion. By focusing on archival sources as well as life history interviews with people who were in care in the period after WWII, personal experiences are examined. I will show how patterns at the individual and institutional level have intersected with wider political, social and cultural dynamics, paying particular attention to changing conceptions of disability, treatment, care and the role of the individual vis-a-vis the state.