Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Accessing possibility: disability, parent-activists and citizenship in contemporary Russia
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This paper highlights ethnographic case studies of two mothers caring for special needs children in Petrozavodsk, Russia (a city of 300,000 near the Finnish border). The still-prevalent institutionalization of children with disabilities in Russia means that there are few options for parents who choose to keep special needs children at home. Parent-activists in Petrozavodsk have staged two civil legal suits to enforce the right to public education guaranteed in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, resulting in a new inclusive education program in local schools. Examining these two case studies, I find that binary axes of autonomy/dependency and public/private that dominate teleologies of the postsoviet transition are upset by the hybrid strategies that the case studies illuminate. I propose that these refractions echo calls from anthropologists to find space for alterity within neoliberalism, and may offer new openings for a politics of disability justice and ethnography of the postsoviet both.