Violence and Abuse through an Ability Studies Lens



Disability, Ability Studies, Ableism, Bioethics, Violence, Abuse


This paper discusses violence and abuse through an ability studies lens. Ability studies investigates the social, cultural, legal, political, ethical and other considerations by which any given  ability expectations (it would be nice to have certain abilities) and ableism – the more severe form of ability expectation (certain abilities are seen as absolutely essential) hierarchies and preferences – come to pass, and the impact of such hierarchies and preferences. This paper pays homage to the work done by disabled activists and the academic field of disability studies on ableism but expands on the concept of ableism in various ways such as broadening it beyond disabled people to decrease the otherism disabled people experience. It also engages with the enabling use of ableism to make the concept more useful.  We provide two tools, the BIAS FREE (Building an Integrative Analytical System For Recognizing and Eliminating in Equities) framework, a tool for identifying biases that originate from social hierarchies including ability-based social hierarchies and ability expectation exercises. Both these tools can be used with everyone such as students to unravel unrecognized, hidden or blatant AAs (Ability expectation and Ableism) and disablisms and enablisms linked to them. The paper concludes with a better and more systematic AA governance discourse, a mapping out of AA conflicts and a much bigger community of practice on AA governance.

Author Biography

Wolbring, Gregor, University of Calgary

Cumming School of Medicine (Community Health Sciences, Program in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies)




How to Cite

Wolbring, G. (2021) “ Violence and Abuse through an Ability Studies Lens”, Indian Journal of Critical Disability Studies. Delhi, India, 1(1), pp. 41–67. vailable at: (ccessed: 25 September 2023).