“The Perils and Possibilities of Para-citizenship: China’s Search for the Ideal Disabled Citizen”. by Professor Sarah Dauncey, University of Nottingham

4pm–5.30pm Wednesday 17 March 2021

Zoom Registration Required at:  https://uofglasgow.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrd-2hpzgvEtbHVJr1VALiZf-w2RJwSsXx


Who defines what it means to be ‘disabled’ in China today? In this talk, Sarah Dauncey looks at the construction of disabled identities specifically from the perspective of Chinese cultural epistemologies. Drawing on sociological theories of citizenship, her research reveals how traditionally accepted notions of personhood are often fundamentally challenged through encounters and interactions with understandings of disability and impairment. She provides engaging examples of the ways in which representations and narratives of disability negotiate the identity of their subject(s) in relation to dominant discourses, where collective social, political and cultural understandings of what it means to live a ‘productive’ disabled life are both imbued and contested. She proposes a new and exciting concept – para-citizenship – which provides a compelling framework for understanding the complex and shifting power relationships between disabled individuals and/or groups and the state in any particular country or specific cultural context.

Speaker bio

Sarah Dauncey is Professor of Chinese Society and Disability in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. Trained in classical and contemporary Chinese language, literature and social history, and with a PhD in late-Ming women’s culture from the University of Durham, Professor Dauncey has published extensively on gender, culture and identity in pre-modern and contemporary China. Most recently, she has pioneered a new field relating to disability in modern and contemporary Chinese culture and society. The results of this project have resulted in numerous articles and book chapters, as well as a monograph – Disability in Contemporary China: Citizenship, Identity and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2020).


The Scottish Centre for China Research Seminar Programme gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the MacFie Bequest. 

First published: 11 February 2021

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