Diana Szantó (2019): Politicising polio in Sierra Leone: Disabilty, civil society and civic agency.
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan

This book talks to a universal theme, disability in a particular setting, post-war Sierra Leone.   Its protagonists are polio-disabled people living in the capital, Freetown, organizing themselves as best as they can against the adversities of life in a state without welfare. There is little concrete support for people with disability in a country where the government itself is grappling with the contradictory requirements of the international community, demanding – in exchange of its support – good standards of democracy and the maintenance of a free market economy. To what extent the Human Rights framework of the disability movement is effective in protecting the polio-disabled and what are the limitations of this frame? The in-depth ethnography reveals, through many real-life examples, the vulnerability of disabled people living in the intersections of poverty, homelessness and disability activism. At the same time, it also tells about the many ways the polio-disabled community is transforming vulnerability into strength.

Diana Szántó is a cultural anthropologist, independent researcher and activist. She worked for more than 20 years as the leader of a Hungarian-based NGO creating opportunities, channels and incentives for intercultural understanding, learning and co-existence. She regularly lectures at several Hungarian universities and is the author of a dozen scientific articles and co-author of several anthropological documentary films. Her research focuses on urban anthropology, migration and social movements, and the intersection of international development, social justice, and health. For the past years she has been teaching medical anthropology and qualitative research methodology at the Health and Community program of School for International Training.

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